At an upscale mall in Coral Gables, Florida on Saturday, Abeku Wilson, a thirty-three-year-old graduate of the University of Miami, walked into Equinox, a fitness facility, and opened fire, scattering terrified patrons and employees, some clad only in towels, to shops and restaurants nearby.
Within minutes, the last of five shots rang out, and eyewitness reports indicate Wilson had turned the gun on himself and committed suicide. Two employees of the gym were wounded and airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center.
Abeku Wilson, a highly sought after and popular personal trainer at Equinox, had recently been fired from his position, although there were no accompanying details explaining the company’s reasons. By all accounts, Wilson was a good guy.
Clients and coworkers were visibly stunned as they attempted to comprehend what had happened. Wilson’s biography, posted on an aspiring model website, painted a picture of someone incapable of such a horrifying and heinous act:
Abeku graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in International Finance and Marketing Accounting.
Abeku was God-fearing, outgoing, charismatic, versatile, ambitious, kind-hearted, and had a youthful and loving sense of humor. He had a positive attitude and appreciated and enjoyed the simple things in life.
No one saw this coming. This man was not a candidate for a terrorist or criminal watch list. So, what snapped?
Local law enforcement publicly stated that Wilson was ‘a disgruntled ex-employee’. From turning disgruntled to attempted murder followed by suicide, this did not fit any conceivable narrative of Abeku Wilson’s life.
Clients of Wilson could not fathom that such a kind man was capable of the horror that unfolded: Marc Sarnoff, a former Miami city commissioner, said he had an odd encounter with Wilson Saturday morning. Sarnoff, who trained with Wilson for about two years, said Wilson bumped into him and another trainer while they were working on a machine at the second-floor gym.
“He said: ‘Sorry. I’m just off balance this morning,'” Sarnoff said. “Which was strange. The way he said it, he almost slurred his words.”
Sarnoff described Wilson, who was tall and muscular, as easily the most popular trainer at the high-end gym. On Saturday, the usually clean-cut Wilson looked off. “He wasn’t clean shaven,” Sarnoff said, “which was unusual.”
Abeku Wilson’s heartbreaking tale is becoming all too common. The continuous news cycles will exploit the details to fit their personal or political agendas and eventually, the next tragedy will replace Abeku’s final day on earth. A sorrowful day.
Wilson altered the lives of those who loved him, but imposed a disturbing legacy on his former coworkers, and left an indelible scar on the souls of innocent people who fled the gym, in fear for their lives.
Abeku’s tragic ending to an ostensibly charmed life—yet no one saw it coming.