On Saturday, a 21-year-old white man, Ryan Palmeter, shot and killed three Black individuals in Jacksonville, Florida. The shooting took place at a Dollar General store in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Palmeter used an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and a Glock handgun, both of which he had legally purchased in recent months. Despite having been involuntarily committed for a mental health examination in 2017, Palmeter passed the background checks required for gun purchases. After the shooting, Palmeter killed himself.
The victims have been identified as Angela Michelle Carr, 52, who was shot in her car; A.J. Laguerre, 19, a store employee who was shot as he tried to flee; and Jerrald Gallion, 29, a customer who was shot as he entered the store. Palmeter’s father discovered a suicide note, a will, and racist writings in his room after receiving a text message from Palmeter during the shooting.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has stated that the Justice Department is investigating the attack as a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism. Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan expressed her grief during a church service near the crime scene, while other attendees criticized Florida’s political rhetoric, which they believe has contributed to such racist attacks.
The investigation is ongoing, and authorities are working to understand the motive behind the shooting.