Coral Gables

Former Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez helped victims after Coral Gables gym shooting

Former Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez was at the Equinox gym at the Shops at Merrick Park on Saturday, April 8, 2017, when a fired trainer, Abeku Wilson, opened fire in the fitness center after he was fired. He shot two managers and then shot and killed himself. The managers died.
Former Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez was at the Equinox gym at the Shops at Merrick Park on Saturday, April 8, 2017, when a fired trainer, Abeku Wilson, opened fire in the fitness center after he was fired. He shot two managers and then shot and killed himself. The managers died. El Nuevo Herald File

Former Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez was at the Coral Gables Equinox gym when a fired trainer killed two managers and then himself, Alvarez told Miami Herald news partner CBS4 in an exclusive interview.

Alvarez, who was recalled from office in 2011 and went on to compete in body-building competitions, told the station that he saw Abeku Wilson, a 33-year-old personal trainer, being fired and then escorted out of the gym Saturday at the Shops at Merrick Park in Coral Gables.

Wilson, police said, came back to the gym shortly thereafter with a handgun early Saturday afternoon. He shot Janine Ackerman, 35, the general manager at Equinox, and Marios Hortis, 42, the gym’s fitness manager. He then shot and killed himself at the gym. Ackerman and Hortis later died from their gunshots.

“I saw him coming back in the gym with a gun in his hand and he said, ‘Where is he?’” Alvarez told CBS4. “He looked at me… I looked at him. He was looking for the third person who was involved in his termination.”

That third person ran away after hearing the gunshots, CBS4 reported.

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

Alvarez, a former Miami-Dade police officer and director, said he did what he could do to help the wounded.

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.

“She had a head wound and I put a towel on her and I kind of grabbed and can still see her little tennis shoes,” Alvarez said in the interview. “Janine was much worse than Marios. She was bleeding profusely from the head and I tried to render aid. I really thought that I was going to find some people shot.”

Alvarez said Hortis said to him, ‘I can’t feel my legs.’

The Saturday shooting sent people running out of the mall, some clad in towels as they fled the high-end fitness center.

Alvarez, who spent 28 years in the county’s police department, including running the department as police director, called the situation at Equinox “surreal.”

“I have been in law enforcement most of my adult life,” he told CBS4. “I can tell you that the feeling of being in a close environment where there are shots being fired is not a pleasant thing.”

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