The man responsible for the deadly shooting at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville on Saturday, Ryan Christopher Palmeter, had identified several potential targets in his writings, including rappers Eminem and Machine Gun Kelly. Palmeter’s writings, reviewed by Rolling Stone, contained derogatory language and expressed his desire for a race war. He also praised previous mass killers, such as the Oklahoma City bomber and the Norwegian summer camp killer.
In his writings, Palmeter listed Eminem and Machine Gun Kelly by their given names and stage monikers, expressing his intention to kill them. The FBI and representatives for both rappers have not commented on the matter.
The Jacksonville shooter acted alone in his crime, but his writings indicate a connection to and admiration for previous mass killers. Palmeter also mentioned other individuals, including Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh.
During a briefing call with law enforcement and community leaders, FBI Director Christopher Wray mentioned the shooter’s writings, highlighting their significance in understanding his motivations and hate. Palmeter entered the Dollar General store dressed in a tactical vest and armed with a handgun and an AR-15 rifle with swastika markings.
Authorities continue to investigate the events leading up to the shooting. It was revealed that Palmeter had made stops at a Family Dollar store and the campus of Edward Waters University before the attack. The sheriff mentioned that Palmeter had undergone a 72-hour evaluation in 2017 but was not committed to a mental institution.
The investigation has uncovered Palmeter’s writings, which contain evidence of his hatred towards African Americans, as well as anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-Semitic sentiments. The weapons and body armor used in the attack had references to previous mass shootings. Palmeter hoped to inspire others to carry out similar attacks.
The sheriff also mentioned that Palmeter was able to legally purchase firearms because the 2017 evaluation did not result in his commitment to a mental institution, and he was a juvenile at the time.
The FBI has identified multiple writings and electronic devices with a significant amount of data related to the shooter’s beliefs and motivations.