Law enforcement sources said the racist Jacksonville shooter wore a Rhodesian Army insignia, a symbol of white supremacy
the A white gunman killed three blacks At a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Florida, over the weekend he wore the Rhodesian Army patch on his tactical jacket, law enforcement sources say, a signal that has been used before during white supremacist attacks.
Investigators say the patch – which represents Rhodesia, a formerly white minority-ruled region of South Africa in the 1960s and 1970s that later became Zimbabwe – is another symbol of how the shooter, Ryan Palmeter, was a racist and influenced by racist ideology. .
Further details emerged on Monday about his struggles with mental health and an internal turmoil that required the intervention of law enforcement.
“This shooting was racially motivated, and he hated black people,” Sheriff TK Waters told reporters Saturday.
the The victims have been identified Such as: Angela Michelle Carr, 52, an Uber driver who was dropping off a passenger at the Dollar General Hotel; Gerald Deshon-Gallion (29); and Anault Joseph “AJ” Laguerre Jr., 19, an employee of the store.
The Jacksonville Police Department said it had no additional comment when asked about the Rhodesian Army patch.
that Acknowledge white supremacy Convicted of the 2015 shooting of nine worshipers at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, he was pictured online wearing a vest with two patches: the green-and-white Rhodesian flag and the apartheid-era Southern flag. Africa. stays on Federal death sentence.
Rhodesia’s white army had come into conflict with the black population before the region was broken up into what is now Zimbabwe.
Rhodesia also became a reference for white legislators in the South who sought to support segregationist policies during the Jim Crow era, and it continues to encourage white nationalists in the United States, said Gerald Horne, author of From the Point of a Gun: The United States. States and the war against Zimbabwe.
“They want to see the clock go back in time,” said Horn, a professor of history and African American studies at the University of Houston.
“A lot of times, what you find with some of these white supremacists, these lone wolves, as they’re called, these vigilantes, they stick to the idea that one spark can start a prairie fire,” Horn said. “They feel that their actions will lead to a bigger fire and that will lead to their crazy dreams coming true.”
at a news conference after the shooting on Saturday Three people were killedAuthorities said Palmeter, 21, drew swastikas in white marker on his AR rifle and Glock pistol that he used in the attack.
Law enforcement sources also said he wrote racial slurs on the firearms.
The FBI said it has opened a federal civil rights investigation and is investigating the shooting as a hate crime.
The killings came two days before 60th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and FreedomWhich was celebrated by thousands at a rally in the country’s capital.
Palmeter lived with his parents in Clay County, a suburb of Jacksonville, and had previous interactions with law enforcement.
In March 2016, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to their home in Orange Park for a house call. According to one report, James Palmeter, Palmeter’s older brother, was upset that his younger brother was “calling him names”. James Palmeter said he turned off his brother’s computer, prompting Ryan Palmeter, who was 14 at the time, to kick him in the groin. He said they were separated by their father, Stephen Palmeter, who later called the authorities because James Palmeter wouldn’t stop screaming.
The investigator did not notice any of the brothers’ injuries, according to the report. Neither brother wanted to pursue charges, and in the end no arrests were made.
Police records show James Palmeter is serving prison time for an armed robbery in 2017.
In July 2017, Ryan Palmeter was subject to Baker’s lawwhich provides “emergency services and temporary detention for up to 72 hours for mental health screening” if, among other criteria, there is reason to believe a person is mentally ill and “refusal of voluntary examination” due to mental illness.
The accident report from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office says Stephen Palmeter called to tell him his son had left the house on his bicycle and that he had found a note in his son’s bedroom indicating he was suicidal.
He was taken to a mental health resource center without incident, and the incident report stated that the case was closed.
Efforts to contact the shooter’s family for comment Monday were unsuccessful.
Florida’s Baker Act, established in 1971, allows law enforcement to forcibly confiscate weapons from anyone committed to a crime. Those who voluntarily enter mental health facilities may still be able to possess firearms, unless they are deemed a danger to themselves or others.
Waters added that the weapons used in the shootings were purchased legally this year.
Authorities said Palmeter left Clay County at 11:39 a.m. Saturday and headed north to Jacksonville. At 1:18 p.m., he texted his father and told him to look at his computer.
At 1:53 p.m., the shooter’s family called the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, but by then, Waters said, the shooting had already begun at the Dollar General store on Kings Road and Canal Street.
Waters said the shooter left messages for his family, federal law enforcement and at least one news outlet detailing his “disgusting ideology of hate.”
Law enforcement officials said there was no evidence the shooter was part of a group, and it is believed he acted alone. He died of a self-inflicted wound.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com