Jacksonville shooting: 3 killed during racially motivated incident; gunman also dead

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Three people were killed on Saturday after a shooting at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville that was racially motivated, according to officials. The gunman also is dead after turning a gun on himself, Sheriff T.K. Waters said. The shooting occurred five years to the day after another mass shooting in the northeastern Florida city.

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President Biden releases statement on Jacksonville shooting

Update 3:15 p.m. EDT Aug. 27: The White House released a statement from President Joe Biden on Sunday following the deadly shooting in Jacksonville, Florida that happened Saturday afternoon.

“Yesterday in Jacksonville, Florida a white gunman went on a shooting rampage at a store near a Historically Black University and killed three Black individuals. While we still need to learn more about the motivation for Saturday’s shooting, law enforcement has opened a federal civil rights investigation and is treating this incident as a possible hate crime and act of domestic violent extremism,” Biden said.

Jill and I are praying for the victims and their families, and we grieve with the people of Jacksonville.”

- Jessica Goodman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Officials identify victims, provide additional details

Update 2:17 p.m. EDT Aug. 27: The victims have been identified by Jacksonville Sheriff TK Waters in a news conference Sunday as Angela Michelle Carr, 52; A.J. Laguerre, 19; and Gerrald Gallion, 29, according to The Associated Press.

Carr was shot in her car. Laguerre was shot as he tried to flee, and Gallion was shot as he entered the Dollar General, Waters said, according to the AP.

During the shooting, the suspect, Ryan Palmeter, reportedly called his father to break into his room, Waters said, according to the AP. His father found a suicide note along with a will and multiple writings that Waters said were racist.

-- Jessica Goodman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

DOJ releases statement on shooting

Update 2:12 p.m. EDT Aug. 27: Attorney General Merrick B. Garland released a statement on the shooting yesterday in a news release.

2“Yesterday in Jacksonville, Florida, three people were killed in a horrific act of hate. In the wake of the mass shooting, FBI and ATF agents responded to the scene and are continuing to work closely with local law enforcement on the ground. 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.”

- Jessica Goodman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Authorities identify suspect

Update 1:32 p.m. EDT Aug. 27: Jacksonville Police Department on X, formerly known as Twitter, identified the suspect in Saturday’s deadly shooting as Ryan Palmeter, 21.

In a news conference Sunday, Sheriff TK Waters said Palmeter bought a handgun in April and an AR-15-style rifle in June, according to CNN. He lived with his parents in Orange Park. He had no criminal arrest history but the sheriff did say he was involuntarily held under the Baker Act of 2017.

“In this situation, there was nothing illegal about him owning the firearms,” Waters said, according to CNN.

- Jessica Goodman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Report: Neighbors identify shooter

Update 11:53 p.m. EDT Aug. 26: WJAX-TV, citing anonymous sources and neighbors, reported that the man believed to be the shooter at the Dollar General Store was Ryan Palmeter, 21, of the neighborhood of Oakleaf in unincorporated Clay County near Jacksonville.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has not yet officially identified the suspect.

Clay County deputies and officers with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office were present outside Palmeter’s home after the shooting on Saturday, according to the television station.

FBI enters investigation

Update 9:18 p.m. EDT Aug. 26: In a statement, the FBI’s field office in Jacksonville said it has opened a federal civil rights investigation into Saturday’s shooting. The agency said it is treating the shooting as a hate crime.

“The FBI will bring every resource to bear in this investigation,” the agency said in its statement.

President Joe Biden has been briefed on the shooting, WJAX-TV reported.

Sheriff: Shooting racially motivated

Updated 6:43 p.m. EDT Aug. 26: During a news conference on Saturday evening, Sheriff T.K. Waters of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said that two males and a female, all of whom were Black, died as a result of the shooting. The gunman fatally shot himself, the sheriff said.

Waters said the shooting was racially motivated and called it a “hate crime,” adding that there were no other people injured.

The sheriff said that the suspected gunman, who has not been identified, was “a maniac who decided he wanted to take lives,” Waters said. He added that the shooter targeted Black people.

“This was a disgusting ideology of hate,” Waters told reporters. “He wanted to kill (N-word). That’s the one and only time I’ll use that word.”

Waters said the gunman, a white male in his “early 20s,” had an AR-style rifle and a Glock when he entered the Dollar General store in the New Town neighborhood of the city shortly before 2 p.m. EDT. He entered the store wearing a tactical vest and a mask, the sheriff said.

“There is absolutely no evidence the shooter is part of any larger group,” Waters told reporters.

The sheriff said the shooter texted his father in nearby Clay County at 1:18 and told him to check his computer. The suspect had sent his parents, the FBI and members of the media a “manifesto.”

The sheriff said that the manifesto had many racial slurs and made it clear that he was targeting Black people.

“Quite frankly, they are the words of a madman,” Waters said in an interview with CNN.

“I can’t even begin to tell who how frustrating this is, because we’ve seen it too much,” Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan said during the news conference.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that the manifesto from “the scumbag that did this” was racially motivated.

“He was targeting people based on their race,” DeSantis said. “That is totally unacceptable.

“This guy killed himself rather than face the music and accept responsibility for his actions, and so he took the coward’s way out. But we condemn what happened in the strongest possible terms.”

Source: At least 3 dead in shooting

Update 6:22 p.m. EDT Aug. 26: WJAX-TV, citing an anonymous source, said that at least three people were killed during Saturday’s shooting, including the alleged gunman.

The source told the television station that the suspected shooter was wearing a tactical vest, mask and gloves at the time of the shooting.

‘A tragic day’

Update 6:09 p.m. EDT Aug. 26: Tracie Davis, a Florida state senator from the Jacksonville area, called Saturday’s shooting “a tragic day.”

“I’m offering prayers to the families of the victims and am on my way to meet with the sheriff for answers,” Davis tweeted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “This type of violence is unacceptable in our communities.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has spoken to Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters about the shooting, WJAX-TV reported.

Original report: “There are a number of fatalities,” Deegan said. “There is a white male inside the Dollar General store.”

It was unclear how many people were shot and how many people were wounded in the shooting.

Students at nearby Edward Waters University students are being kept in their dorms, the school said in a statement. No students or faculty are believed involved, the school said.

Saturday’s shooting came five years after a mass shooting that occurred during a video game tournament for “Madden NFL 19″ in the Jacksonville Landing area of the city.

David Katz, 24, opened fire on Aug. 26, 2018, inside the Good Luck Have Fun Game Bar inside Chicago Pizza, killing two rival gamers and leaving at least 10 others injured, WJAX reported. Katz took his own life, according to the television station.

Saturday’s shooting came a day after city officials were considering building a memorial to the people injured in the 2018 shooting, WJAX reported.

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