Crime and Safety, News

Gunman opens fire inside Shops at Merrick Park

The Shops at Merrick Park were shut down after a gunman opened fire inside the Equinox fitness center leaving two dead, including the shooter, and one wounded. Amanda Herrera // Assistant News Editor

Update, 9:12 p.m., April 12, 2017: Hortis died early morning on April 9 following being transported to a nearby hospital after being shot by Wilson on April 8.

A gunman shot two people at the Shops at Merrick Park in Coral Gables early afternoon Saturday, leaving one dead and another injured before turning the gun on himself.

According to the Miami-Dade Police Department, at approximately 12:55 p.m., shots were heard inside the mall coming from the second floor. The shooter, identified as Abeku Wilson, 33, was an ex-employee of the Equinox fitness center inside of the Shops at Merrick Park. Coral Gables Police Department Officer Kelly Denham said the shooting took place inside of the gym and “was not an active shooter” situation but rather a targeted incident.

According to The Miami Herald, Wilson shot and killed the gym’s general manager, Janine Ackerman, 35, and wounded fitness manager Marios Hortis, 42, before killing himself. Hortis later died at the hospital the following day, April 9.

Social media accounts for Wilson say he attended the University of Miami in the past.

UM student Gabby Rosenbloom was at the Shops during the shooting to advertise a show for the UM theatre department when she and her friend saw people running. Rosenbloom said that around 1 p.m., the owner of Janie and Jack, a children’s clothing store, told them to get inside the store and seek shelter. She said herself, three of her friends, the store’s two owners and three patrons including two children remained in the storage room in the back of the store.

“As freaked out as we all were, we tried to keep calm for the two little girls. It was sort of comforting to have them there because in having them there it sort of distracted us,” she said.

At 1:59 p.m., police officers escorted Rosenbloom and the rest of the civilians inside the clothing store down the escalators and to a holding area.

“We were very lucky. I never thought we would end up in a situation like that,” Rosenbloom said.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

April 8, 2017


Amanda Herrera

Amanda Herrera can be reached via email at and through Twitter at @_AmandaHerrera.

4 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Gunman opens fire inside Shops at Merrick Park”

  1. Sabrina elaine says:

    I can’t believe this happened, i go there all the time. I can’t imagine why anyone would do something like this. Hopefully they increase security at the mall. Merrick Park is such a family friendly place, it’s sad that something like this happened, everytime i go there now i’m always aware of everything going on around me.

  2. Katherine Ceravolo says:

    I go to Merrick Park 2 to 3 times per week and this is just heartbreaking. Merrick Park is a plaza full of families and friends coming together to shop, eat, and spend time in a beautiful atmosphere. I will never feel the same when I walk the 5 minute path to eat at my favorite restaurant Villagio. Unfortunately, I will have to remain watching my surroundings and always following my gut feeling. I am still in shock as I type.

  3. Taylor Cartagena says:

    It’s almost sad how quickly this incident faded from our minds, it’s only Tuesday and I just had an “oh yeah” moment upon finding this article. We’ve become way too desensitized to the horrors of such senseless violence, and it begs the question: what will it take for us to get serious about gun control? I’m fairly certain a raccoon could purchase an automatic weapon in the state of Florida, but hopefully a tragedy such as this occurring in our own privileged backyard will cause a few more people to rethink their positions on the subject.

  4. Paola says:

    This is so scary… can’t imagine what would drive someone to do something so horrible. It also leads to the debate about gun control and who should really be in possession of these weapons.

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