What do you know about the racially motivated shootings in Jacksonville?
A gunman shot and killed three people in what officials described as a racially motivated shooting in Jacksonville, Florida, on Saturday.
Three people were killed in what police called a “racially motivated” shooting at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville on Saturday afternoon. The gunman, identified as 21-year-old Ryan Christopher Palmeter, committed suicide after shooting and killing all three victims.
Here’s what you should know about shooting:
Local law enforcement said the gunman “hates black people.”
All three shooting victims were black, Jacksonville Sheriff TK Waters said at a news conference Saturday night.
He said the gunman – who was white – made up several statements prior to the shooting that indicated this attack was racially motivated.
“Parts of this data detailed the disgusting ideology of hate espoused by the shooter,” Waters said at the news conference on Saturday. “Honestly, this shooting was racially motivated, and he hated black people.”
On Sunday, Waters identified the victims as Angela Michelle Carr, 52; Anault Joseph “AJ” Laguerre Jr., 19; and Gerald Galleon, 29.
The gunman attempted to enter a historically black college for the first time
Waters said Palmeter arrived at Edward Waters University – a historically black college – early Saturday afternoon, where he was seen wearing a bulletproof vest.
Palmeter, who eventually left campus without incident, was dealt with by campus security, the university said. The security official reported the incident to local law enforcement authorities, the statement said.
“Today, a campus security officer at Edward Waters University (EWU) engaged an unidentified man in the vicinity of the Centennial Library on campus.” The university wrote in a statement. The individual refused to identify himself and was asked to leave. The individual returned to his car and left the campus without incident.
“It was later determined that this individual would be involved in a shooting near the EWU campus,” the university stated.
About 10 minutes after Palmeter left campus, Waters said, the gunman began shooting outside a Dollar General store, shooting and killing the first victim in the parking lot.
The shooting occurred in the wake of the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington
The racially motivated shooting followed the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
The march was commemorated Saturday, when the Drum Master Institute, the NAACP, the National Action Network (NAN) and more than 100 national organizations marched through the nation’s capital to honor the calls to action launched by the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Martin Luther King III, president of the Drum Major Institute, has called for more action on hate crimes in the wake of the Jacksonville shooting.
“In 2023, we’re seeing things unfold. And that’s very tragic. We, as a society, have to find a way to navigate issues. You don’t have to love me, but we have to understand how to deal civilly with issues.”
“And we have to do something to change that. And we haven’t — not tomorrow. We have to do something now,” he said. “I know there is hate crime legislation. But this is not reasonable. this is unacceptable. It is inhumane. And she’s not American.”
Arndrea Waters King, the daughter-in-law of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., drew comparisons between the Jacksonville shooting and the 1963 Birmingham church bombing that killed four black girls weeks after the first March on Washington.
“One of the things I also like to take advantage of with Martin talking about yesterday’s rally is – and then what happened in Jacksonville, it wasn’t really surprising, but it was definitely heart wrenching,” she said.
“And one of the things I immediately thought about was the parallels between 1963 and literally three weeks after the original March on Washington, and the bombing and killing of four black girls,” she added.
The Department of Justice and the FBI to investigate the incident as a hate crime
The Ministry of Justice announced, on Sunday, that will be investigated The shooting as a hate crime and an act of “racially motivated violent extremism.”
“The Department of Justice is investigating this attack as a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “The entire Department of Justice extends its deepest condolences to the loved ones of the victims and the Jacksonville community as they grieve an unimaginable loss.”
The FBI’s Jacksonville office also said it would investigate the shooting as a hate crime.
“The FBI Jacksonville Field Office is coordinating with the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Florida regarding the tragic shooting in Jacksonville, Florida,” the office said in a statement. “The FBI has opened a federal civil rights investigation and we will prosecute this incident as a hate crime. The FBI will use every resource necessary in this investigation.”