Miami-Dade County

Before shooting, Equinox gunman fired ‘due to work place violence,’ police say

A photo of Abeku Wilson lifting weights at Equinox, as posted on his Instragram feed.
A photo of Abeku Wilson lifting weights at Equinox, as posted on his Instragram feed.

Abeku Wilson opened fire on two managers at the Equinox fitness club Saturday afternoon shortly after the high-end gym fired him for “work place violence” and escorted him off the premises at the Merrick Park mall, police said Sunday.

The 33-year-old returned to the gym with a hand gun and fatally shot two supervisors: Janine Ackerman, 35, the general manager; and Marios Hortis, 42, the gym’s fitness manager.

Miami-Dade police said “both victims were targeted” and that “this was not an act of random violence.”

Read more: Scene of the latest workplace shooting, Equinox copes with death by a ‘former trainer’

Wilson “turned the gun on himself” after shooting the two. Wilson died on the scene; Ackerman and Hortis were rushed to the hospital in critical condition and later died. Ackerman’s death came shortly after the shooting Saturday; Equinox first revealed the death of Hortis in an email to members Sunday morning. A police spokesman confirmed Hortis’s death Sunday afternoon.

The police news release does not offer details about Wilson’s dismissal or when the alleged violence behind it occurred. Wilson was at work Saturday morning, and finished up with a client about an hour before the shooting, according to interviews. Eveliny Bastos-Klein, the client who finished up an hour session with Wilson at noon., said she made an appointment to see him again on Wednesday. “I didn’t notice anything amiss,” she said Saturday.

Police said the shooting happened at 12:55 p.m.

Wilson “was terminated from his employment on Saturday, April 8, 2017, due to work place violence and was escorted off the premises,” the release said. “He then returned to the fitness center armed with a hand gun and shot the general manager, Janine Ackerman, multiple times. He also shot Marios Hortis, employee, multiple times, and then turned the gun on himself.”

A gunman opened fire inside the Equinox fitness center at the Shops at Merrick Park early afternoon Saturday, leaving two dead and one person wounded at the upscale Coral Gables mall anchored by Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, police said.