Parents: Gunman in Singer Island murder-suicide ‘happy’ before shooting

Updated Dec 21, 2017
Elia, Tom (CMG-WestPalm)
Holly Given (left) and Travis Timilty in a photo Given posted on her Facebook page on Friday, Oct. 20, 2017, when she announced they were officially in a relationship.

Minutes before he shot and killed his girlfriend Wednesday, then turned the gun on himself in a murder-suicide inside a Singer Island apartment, Richard Travis Timilty was hanging out with friends at a restaurant and appeared “happy.”

What caused the 27-year-old boat captain to kill girlfriend Holly Given, 26, left Timilty’s parents dumbfounded Thursday.

“He was smiling,” said Timilty’s mother, Lisa Martinez, outside the Surf Road apartment building where Timilty and Given lived. “He was happy.”

The couple was discovered by Riviera Beach police after Martinez requested a welfare check Wednesday afternoon. Police made the discovery about 3:30 p.m. at the apartment complex just west of Ocean Drive and north of Blue Heron Boulevard.

Martinez and Dennis Bater, Timilty’s father, said their son was planning on buying an engagement ring and proposing to Given during Christmas. Bater and Martinez referred to Given as “the one.”

Given announced her relationship with Timilty on her Facebook page on Oct. 20, the day he filed for divorce after less than a year of marriage to another woman. Given and Timilty appear to have started dating around July.

Police said Given and Timilty did not have any prior history of domestic calls that they know of. Investigators did not give any indication of motive.

“It just doesn’t make any sense,” Martinez said. “I just keep asking, ‘Why? How?’ I don’t understand.”

Timilty and Given both worked at Sailfish Marina, along the Intracoastal Waterway about a mile south of their apartment. Their social media accounts often show them hunting and ocean fishing. Both were “avid gun owners,” according to Martinez, and Timilty had given Given a pistol and rifle for her birthday.

But a neighbor indicated the couple had encountered recent trouble.

‪A day before the couple died, neighbor Melissa Birch said she saw Given running up and down her two-story walk-up, bringing belongings to her car. She said Given was in a hurry.‬

‪“There was a history there,” Birch said.

Timilty’s parents denied rumors that the couple was fighting.

Instead, Martinez said, Timilty had “everything to live for.”

Timilty was recently promoted to boat captain and was excited to have a job he loved, his parents said.

“The fish just came to him,” Bater said. “He finally achieved his goal, becoming a boat captain. He had such a bright future.”

His parents said they saw Timilty about 30 minutes prior to the shooting at a Texas Roadhouse restaurant where he was drinking with friends. They went to the restaurant to pick him up and were joined there by Given, they said. Timilty ended up leaving the restaurant by himself.

Martinez said her son gave no indication of what he was about to do.

According to her Facebook page, Given attended Western Carolina University and attended Coral Shores High School. She was from Key Largo and worked at the City Hall Cafe & Grille in Islamorada. An employee who picked up the phone at the restaurant said that Given was a “wonderful person” but added that she was too upset to speak further.

On Thursday, Given’s Facebook page was memorialized and drew dozens of posts.

“So devastated,” Cha Cha DiGregorio wrote. “What a loss. Holly the world was a better place with you in it. Now heaven is a better place.”

The homicide was the 96th confirmed one in Palm Beach County during 2017 and the 12th in Riviera Beach, according to a Palm Beach Post database. This is also the fourth murder-suicide with a Singer Island connection in three years.

On Nov. 25, 2015, 75-year-old Michael Singer and his wife, 79-year-old wife Carmen Singer, were found shot to death in their gated Cote D’Azur condominium complex on North Ocean Drive. Police said it was a murder-suicide.

On May 27, 2016, James Huhta stabbed his 79-year-old wife, Mary, to death and attempted to kill himself by overdosing on insulin. When he woke up, he said he felt hopeless then jumped from the second-floor balcony of their Eastpointe condominium on North Ocean Drive. He was eventually arrested and charged with her death but died before his trial.

Also, Hugh Jeantinor shot and killed his wife near Greenacres on Jan. 30, 2017, then shot himself as he fell from the Blue Heron Bridge.