Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters claimed during a press conference on Sunday that the White guy who killed three Black persons in a racist attack at a Dollar General store on Saturday lawfully purchased two firearms earlier this year.
Sheriff’s officials have revealed that 21-year-old Ryan Christopher Palmeter, the suspected shooter, purchased a handgun in April and an AR-15-style rifle in June. The sheriff stated he had no prior criminal record but had been involuntarily detained under the Baker Act in 2017. He resided with his parents in nearby Orange Park.
Nothing about him having the firearms “in this situation” was criminal, he claimed.
Authorities allege Palmeter’s shooting of three Black persons at a Dollar General store was motivated by racism, and the press conference was held the day after the shooting. The incident is being looked at by the FBI and the Department of Justice as a possible hate crime and act of racially motivated violent extremism.
Authorities say the shooter shouted racial insults, wrote a racist manifesto, and drew swastikas on his weapon. The sheriff reported that he was wearing a tactical vest and blue latex gloves and was equipped with an AR-15-style rifle and a handgun.
Angela Michelle Carr, 52, Anolt Joseph “AJ” Laguerre Jr., 19, and Jerrald Gallion, 29, were named as the victims.
The shooter had previously been denied entry to the campus of a nearby historically Black university. He was asked to leave after refusing to provide identification to a campus security officer, according to a press release from the school.
Without incident, the person went back to their car and drove off campus. Security at EWU reported the incident to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the university said.
Five years to the day after another mass shooting at a Madden competition in downtown Jacksonville, this one took place. The 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, the landmark civil rights rally that demanded government protection for the rights of Black people, also fell on the same day as the attack.
The massacre occurred just two days after numerous other shootings around the United States, including one near a parade in Massachusetts and another at a high school football game in Oklahoma, all of which highlighted the pervasive nature of gun violence in contemporary American society.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, which, like HEADLINESFOREVER, defines a mass shooting as one in which four or more people are wounded or killed, excluding the gunman, there have been at least 472 mass shootings in the United States thus far in 2023. There have been about two mass shootings per day this year. The group reported that the nation hit the 400 threshold in July, the first month to do so since 2013.
On Saturday, Sheriff Waters detailed the attack’s occurrence down to the minute.
Waters told HEADLINESFOREVER that the shooter left his residence in Clay County at 11:39 a.m. and drove to Jacksonville in neighbouring Duval County.
The sheriff stated that at 12:48 p.m., the suspect drove a grey Honda to Edward Waters University, where he changed into a bulletproof vest and recorded himself doing so on TikTok.
At 12:57 p.m., the suspect departed the same parking area where university police had parked, he added. After he left the parking lot, university police flagged down a sheriff’s deputy and reported a suspicious person on campus, the sheriff said.
Carr was shot and died at 1:08 p.m. in the Dollar General parking lot, according to the sheriff. The sheriff reported that the suspect then entered the store and shot and killed Laguerre.
Some customers ran out the back entrance, and the suspect used that same door to leave the store and come back in. The gunman entered the store, shot and killed Gallion, and then pursued and shot at Gallion’s fleeing girlfriend, the sheriff said.
At 1:18 p.m., the shooter texted his father, telling him to go into his room, where the sheriff claimed the father found a will and a suicide note. Minutes later, around 11 minutes after the shooting began, officers entered the business and heard a single gunshot, which the sheriff has stated is likely the gunman’s suicide.
According to the sheriff, the father of the suspect contacted the Clay County Sheriff’s office at 1:53 p.m.
According to Waters, the attack was plainly aimed at Black people. The suspect left behind letters to his parents, the media, and federal authorities in which he used racial slurs and explained his “disgusting ideology of hate,” the sheriff said.
On Saturday, Waters stated, “This shooting was racially motivated, and he hated Black people.”
The authorities also aired two brief videos depicting the incident. The gunman may be seen in two separate videos; in the first, he is seen outside the store aiming at a black Kia, and in the second, he enters the business and points his rifle to his right.
For the sake of “the people being able to see exactly what happened in this situation and just how sickening it is,” Waters added, “I wanted to make sure that everyone could see the full picture.”
According to him, it appears the shooter did not know any of the victims and acted alone.
A tragic day in Jacksonville’s history, the sheriff declared. “The loss of life is tragic in and of itself, but the hate that drove the shooter on his rampage compounds the tragedy.”
After the shooting began, the suspect’s father dialled 911.
Authorities released photos of the shooter’s arsenal, which included a gun decorated with swastikas.
The suspect’s loved ones are innocent. They are innocent of this. The sheriff eventually revealed to HEADLINESFOREVER that this was entirely the man’s decision.
The state’s Baker Act, which permits involuntary detention and evaluation of individuals for up to 72 hours during mental health crises, was used in 2017 in reference to the shooter.
Waters would not elaborate on the circumstances that prompted the call under the Baker statute, but she did say that someone who has been detained under the statute is often not allowed to acquire firearms.
They can’t get guns if there’s a Baker Act problem, he told HEADLINESFOREVER. To paraphrase, “We don’t know if that Baker Act was recorded properly, whether it was considered a full Baker Act.”
Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan said the shooter may have timed his attack to coincide with the anniversary of a mass shooting at a gaming event in Jacksonville five years prior. Two people were murdered in that shooting.
On Saturday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis spoke out against the massacre and referred to the shooter as a “scumbag.”
He discriminated against people because of their skin colour. That can never be tolerated. This individual chose the easy way out by killing himself rather than facing the consequences of his conduct. DeSantis mentioned this in a video statement that the governor’s office provided to HEADLINESFOREVER.
In a statement, the NAACP chapter in Jacksonville expressed its support for the victims’ families.
The branch expressed its dismay that black people “live in constant fear of being targeted based on the colour of their skin,” and hence cannot feel safe going to the store.
On the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, Vice President Joe Biden spoke about the awful significance of the shooting that took place that day.
Biden stated in a statement, “[T]his day of remembrance and commemoration ended with yet another American community wounded by an act of gun violence, reportedly fueled by hate-filled animus and carried out with two firearms.”
While we’re still trying to figure things out, it’s imperative that we make it crystal clear that white supremacy has no place in the United States. We can’t stand to be a nation where Black shoppers and youngsters at school have to worry about being targeted because of their skin tone.