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Jacksonville Dollar General Shooting: What We Know

A white gunman shot dead three black men at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday afternoon. He then shot himself.

Police said the shooting was a racially motivated hate crime. Here’s what is known so far about the murders.

Around 11:40 a.m. Saturday, the gunman left his parents’ home in Clay County, Fla., and made his way to Edward Waters University, where he donned a bulletproof vest and minutes later drove away.

The university security team called the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and said there was a “suspicious individual on campus,” whom they described as a white, muscular man wearing a bulletproof vest and blue latex gloves.

Authorities began filing a BOLO report.

Just after 1 p.m., the gunman was seen entering the Dollar General parking lot, where he fired 11 shots at a car, killing the first victim. According to officials, he then entered the store armed with a handgun and an AR-15-style rifle that bore swastika markings. Inside the store, the gunman shot dead two people, one of whom was entering the store with his girlfriend, officials said. Sheriff Waters said the shooter did not shoot at a person inside the store who was also white.

Police said that shortly after entering the store, officers heard a single shot, which they believe killed the gunman.

The three victims, all black, were identified Sunday as Angela Michelle Carr, 52, by Jacksonville Sheriff TK Waters. Anolt Joseph Laguerre Jr., known as AJ, 29, who worked at the store; and Jerrald De’Shaun Gallion, 19.

Ms. Carr, an Uber driver, just dropped her friend off at the Dollar General Store, her son, Chayvaughn Payne, said. “She would give her shirt for people,” said 30-year-old Mr Payne, describing Ms Carr as someone who invites people to cookouts and other family events.

Mr. Laguerre was an employee at Dollar General, the store said in a statement. Family members of Mr Laguerre and Mr Gallion could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

No one was injured, officials said.

Police officers on Sunday identified the shooter as Ryan Christopher Palmer, 21.

He has no criminal record, although authorities held him for an involuntary 72-hour psychiatric evaluation in 2017 when he was 15, the sheriff said. A year earlier, police received a call about domestic violence involving him and his brother.

The shooter legally purchased the two guns he used in the shooting — a Glock pistol and an AR-15 rifle — in April and June, Sheriff Waters said.

Psychiatric evaluations under a Florida law called the Baker Act do not show up in background checks unless the person has been admitted for treatment.

Authorities found more than 20 pages of racist writing on the shooter’s laptop, Sheriff Waters said in an interview.

According to Mr. Palmer’s account on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, he attended OakLeaf High School in Orange Park, Florida. In November 2019, he posted a photo of an acceptance letter from Flagler College. A spokeswoman said on Sunday that he is not currently a student.

Jacksonville, in Northeast Florida, has a population of 971,000. Almost a third of residents are black and the city has a long history of racism. Sunday marked the 63rd anniversary of Axe Handle Saturday when white supremacists brutally beat up a group of mostly black civil rights activists.

Last year, on the morning of September 11, a neo-Nazi group unfurled swastika flags and anti-Semitic banners on an Interstate 95 overpass. And in early 2022, homeowners in two boroughs found hate speech pamphlets in their driveways.

Last October, an extremist group in Jacksonville displayed anti-Semitic messages, including at TIAA Bank Field before a Florida-Georgia college football game. More hateful messages surfaced on an Interstate 10 overpass and along another freeway.

About 150 people gathered for a vigil outside the Dollar General Store on Sunday. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican presidential candidate who has reversed diversity and inclusion policies and revised black history standards, appeared unannounced at the vigil.

The crowd booed loudly when he was invited to speak, and a councilwoman had to step in and ask people to listen. After he spoke, the governor was booed again.

He said earlier Sunday in Tallahassee he spoke with Jacksonville officials and the Edward Waters administration to ensure the university had adequate security. “The use of violence of this kind is unacceptable and there is no place in the state of Florida to target people based on their race,” he said.

Last May, a shooting involving black people at a Buffalo convenience store killed 10 people. The shooter, a white teenager, was intrigued by white supremacist ideology.

In 2019, an attack on a Walmart in El Paso killed 22 people. The shooter in that shooting told police he wanted to kill Mexicans.

According to the Violence Project database, 9.3 percent of past mass shootings in the United States were racially motivated.

In March, the FBI released an analysis of hate crime incidents in 2021 – last year’s data was complete – showing that overall hate crimes have increased by more than 11 percent since 2020. According to the data, hate crimes were committed against black people, representing the largest category of “biased incidents” in 2021, accounting for 31 percent of all single-bias incidents.

Emma Bubola, Jin Yu Young, Adam Goldman and Glenn Thrush contributed coverage.

Source: www.nytimes.com

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Jennifer Adams

Dedicated news writer with a passion for truth and accuracy. Covering stories that impact lives.

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