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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Gunman Kills 3 in Racially Motivated Attack on Jacksonville Dollar Store; First Confronted by Security at HBCU

The shooter left three distinct manifestos: one for his parents, one for the media, and one for federal law enforcement. "Portions of these manifestos detail the shooter's disgusting ideology of hate," the sheriff said.

Three people were killed in a racially motivated mass shooting in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday afternoon by a gunman who was first confronted by security on the campus of a nearby historically Black university.

Just after 1 p.m., a white male shooter outfitted with a tactical vest and armed with a rifle and Glock handgun entered a Dollar General store in the New Town area of Jacksonville, Sheriff T.K. Waters said at a press conference Saturday evening. The gunman fatally shot three Black people — two males and one female — during the attack before taking his own life. No additional people were hit by gunfire.

The victims were identified Sunday as Angela Michelle Carr, 52, Anolt Joseph “AJ” Laguerre Jr., 19, and Jerrald Gallion, 29. Carr was shot in her vehicle while in the parking lot; Waters said the gunman fired 11 rounds into her Kia without warning.

In a news conference Sunday, Waters identified the gunman as Ryan Christopher Palmeter, 21.

The shooter resided with his parents in Clay County, Waters said, and was involved in a 2016 domestic call in which there were no arrests. In 2017, he did have a mental health emergency under Florida’s Baker Act. The sheriff initially said that the guns used in the attack did not belong to his parents. On Sunday, he said that Palmeter’s involuntarily hold in 2017 did not affect his ability to purchase the handgun in April and the rifle in June.

“We know that at 11:39 a.m. today, Sheriff Cook gave us information that he left Clay County headed for Jacksonville. At 1:18 p.m. he texted his father and told his father to check his computer. At 1:53 p.m., the shooter’s family members called the Clay County Sheriff’s Office,” Waters said Saturday. “By that time he had already begun shooting in Jacksonville.”

The shooter left three distinct manifestos: one for his parents, one for the media, and one for federal law enforcement.

“Portions of these manifestos detail the shooter’s disgusting ideology of hate,” the sheriff said. “Plainly put, this shooting was racially motivated and he hated Black people. He wanted to kill n—–s.”

The Sheriff’s Office released photos of the gunman’s weapons, including an AR-style rifle with writing and swastikas scrawled along the length of the weapon.

Waters said there was “no evidence that the shooter is part of any large group — we know that he acted completely alone.”

Edward Waters University, a historically Black school near the store, said in a campus safety update that an on-campus security officer “engaged an unidentified male in the vicinity of Centennial Library on campus” that afternoon.

“The individual refused to identify themselves and was asked to leave,” the statement continued. “The individual returned to their car and left campus without incident. The encounter was reported to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office by EWU security. It was later determined that the individual would be involved in a shooting near EWU Campus.”

The sheriff confirmed that the shooter was at the HBCU before opening fire at the dollar store. “I can’t tell you what his mindset was when he was there but he did go there and he did put his vest on and a mask on, and then went directly to Dollar General,” Waters said.

The shooting occurred on the fifth anniversary of 2018’s Jacksonville Landing shooting, in which a mass shooter killed two and wounded 10 at a video game tournament. Mayor Donna Deegan said that manifesto content indicated that the Dollar General shooter “was aware of that and perhaps chose this date in alignment with that.”

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement Saturday that the Department of Homeland Security “is closely monitoring the situation surrounding this afternoon’s racially-motivated shooting in Jacksonville, Florida that led to the tragic, senseless death of three innocent people today.”

“We are and will continue to provide support to law enforcement and to the Jacksonville community to help keep Floridians safe,” Mayorkas said. “I have spoken with Jacksonville Mayor Deegan and to national civil rights leaders.  Too many Americans – in Jacksonville and across our country – have lost a loved one because of racially-motivated violence. The Department of Homeland Security is committed to working with our state and local partners to help prevent another such abhorrent, tragic event from occurring.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland said Sunday that FBI and ATF agents were working with local law enforcement on the ground as the Justice Department “is investigating this attack as a hate crime and an act of racially-motivated violent extremism.”

“The entire Justice Department extends its deepest condolences to the loved ones of the victims and to the Jacksonville community as they mourn an unimaginable loss,” Garland said. “No person in this country should have to live in fear of hate-fueled violence and no family should have to grieve the loss of a loved one to bigotry and hate. One of the Justice Department’s first priorities upon its founding in 1870 was to bring to justice white supremacists who used violence to terrorize Black Americans. That remains our urgent charge today. The Justice Department will never stop working to protect everyone in our country from unlawful acts of hate.”

This story was updated at 8:30 p.m. EST

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Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.
Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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