Before a racist mass shooter killed three Black people at a Dollar General in Jacksonville, Florida, he tried to carry out the hate crime at a nearby HBCU.
Source: Brandon Bell / Getty
While fascist Republican leaders attempt to erase the history of white supremacist violence from schools and books, a coward with a gun doomed another community to repeat it. NewsOne reports a white man in his 20s opened fire on Black patrons at a Jacksonville Dollar General. The racist attack left three victims dead.
According to Jacksonville County Sheriff T.K. Waters, his manifestos make it undeniably clear that this was an anti-Black hate crime. He revealed a well-documented history of the cowardly killer’s hate.
The shooter sent manifestos to the media, law enforcement, and his parents, highlighting the racist indoctrination that fueled the attack. His parents notified the police after he instructed them to check his computer to read one, but by then, it was too late.
“Portions of these manifestos detail the shooter’s disgusting ideology of hate. This shooting was racially motivated and he hated black people. He wanted to kill n*ggers,” said Waters, who is also Black.
CNN reports the gunman, identified as Ryan Christopher Palmeter, drew swastikas on his firearm. For the attack, he used a Glock handgun he bought in April and an AR-15-style rifle he bought in June. Both purchases were legal in Florida, despite his involuntary detention for a mental health observation under the Baker Act in 2017. That history should have prevented him from buying those guns in the first place.
We don’t have much gun control in this country, and the ones we’ve got don’t seem much stronger than the recycled “thoughts and prayers” of politicians who profit from the violence. The shooter died from a self-inflicted gunshot.
The sheriff identified the victims as Angela Michelle Carr, 52; Anolt Joseph “AJ” Laguerre Jr., 19; and Jerrald Gallion, 29. The Justice Department is investigating the shooting as a hate crime.
As heartbreaking as this latest instance of White Supremacist Terrorism is, it could have been even more devastating.
The Jacksonville Shooter Tried To Enter Nearby HBCU Edward Waters University Before Opening Fire At Dollar General
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Campus security at Edward Waters University reported the gunman tried to enter the campus earlier that afternoon. A guard asked him to leave when he refused to identify himself.
“The individual returned to their car and left campus without incident. The encounter was reported to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office by EWU security,” the school announced.
As the elaborately written rants and tactical gear indicate, the terrorist’s plans included far more death and destruction. In addition to a more crowded original target, he picked a date with historical relevance. Saturday marked the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington. It was also the 5th anniversary of another mass shooting in downtown Jacksonville.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis condemned the shooting, calling the gunman a “scumbag” and a “coward.” If that’s how he feels about anti-Black hatred, DeSantis should repeat that to the mirror. When the NAACP issued a travel advisory warning about anti-Black violence in Florida, DeSantis called it “nothing more than a stunt.”
President Joe Biden released a statement confirming that “law enforcement has opened a federal civil rights investigation and is treating this incident as a possible hate crime and act of domestic violent extremism.”
“[W]e must say clearly and forcefully that white supremacy has no place in America. We must refuse to live in a country where Black families going to the store or Black students going to school live in fear of being gunned down because of the color of their skin. Hate must have no safe harbor. Silence is complicity and we must not remain silent,” Biden said.
The community held a prayer vigil Saturday night at St. Paul AME Church down the street. Jacksonville City Council member Rahman Pittman will lead a memorial vigil Sunday evening at 5:30 p.m. near the Dollar General.
Our condolences go out to the victims and their loved ones. We will keep you updated as this story continues to develop.