Three Black patrons of a Dollar General store in the New Town neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida, were gunned down Saturday afternoon by a mask-dawning White man holding a gun emblazoned with a swastika.
According to the Associated Press, the shooter, a 21-year-old named Ryan Palmeter, then turned the gun on himself, committing suicide. Palmeter, who was arrested and involuntarily committed in 2016 for his involvement in a domestic violence incident, had shared racist content on social media leading up to the attack.
New Town is a predominantly Black neighborhood, and the shooting occurred near Edward Waters University, a historically Black college. According to campus security guards, Palmeter was seen on campus just before the shooting. He was asked to leave after he refused to identify himself. He was seen dressing in a mask and bulletproof vest before leaving.
Palmeter claimed the lives of three people: 52-year-old Angela Michelle Carr, 29-year-old Jerrald Gallion and 19-year-old A.J. Laguerre.
According to Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters, Carr was shot while sitting in her car outside the store, Gallion was shot as he was entering the store, and Laguerre, a store employee, was shot while attempting to flee.
The attack was motivated by racism, according to reports. Federal authorities are investigating the shooting as a hate crime.
During the shooting, Palmeter reportedly texted his father, telling him to go into his room and check his computer.
According to the AP, upon locating Palmeter’s computer, his father found his son’s will, a suicide note and racist writings that made his hatred for black people clear. Some of the writings were addressed to his family, federal agents and media outlets.
Palmeter’s family contacted authorities, but the attack, which lasted 11 minutes, was already underway.
Following the shooting, President Joe Biden released a statement condemning white supremacy.
“… We 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,” a statement from the White House asserted.
“Jill and I are praying for the victims and their families, and we grieve with the people of Jacksonville,” the statement concluded.
Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan (D) also condemned the attack, urging the American people to take racism seriously.
“I’ve heard some people say that some of the rhetoric that we hear doesn’t really represent what’s in people’s hearts, it’s just the game. It’s just the political game. Those three people who lost their lives, that’s not a game. That’s the reality of what we’re dealing with,” Deegan asserted. “Please let us stop viewing each other as pieces on a game board, and let us please start to see each other’s humanity,” she continued.
Florida Governor Ron Desantis (R) said at a vigil for the victims on Sunday that on Monday, the state would be announcing funding for increased security at Edward Waters University.
“What he did is totally unacceptable in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said at a vigil where his presence was met with mixed sentiments. “We are not going to let people be targeted based on their race.”
No one was injured outside of the three murdered victims.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Sean Rayford/Stringer
Kayla Koslosky has been the Editor of ChristianHeadlines.com since 2018. She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket newspaper. She has also contributed to IBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com.