A racially motivated attack left three black people dead at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Florida on Saturday, August 26, contributing to a series of mass shootings across the US over the weekend.
Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said in a news conference that the assailant, Ryan Palmeter, 21, a white male from Orange Park in Clay County, specifically targeted black people. Following the attack, the shooter ended his own life. The assailant left behind three manifestos that detailed his racist ideologies.
The incident began near Edward Waters University, a historically black institution. The gunman appeared there briefly but was turned away after refusing to identify himself. The university reported no injuries. The assailant, equipped with a bulletproof vest and mask, moved to the Dollar General store for his attack.
The victims were Angela Michelle Carr, 52, Anolt Joseph “A.J.” Laguerre Jr., 19, and Jarrald De’Shawn Gallion, 29. Others were shot at both inside and outside the store.
Images shared by authorities showed swastikas painted on one of the shooter’s weapons. The FBI’s Jacksonville office has initiated a federal civil rights investigation, treating the incident as a hate crime.
The yet-to-be-identified gunman had a prior interaction with law enforcement in 2017 under the Baker Act, which mandates involuntary detention during mental health crises. It remains uncertain how he obtained his weapons, which included an AR-15-style rifle and a handgun.
Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan noted that the assailant might have known of a previous mass shooting event in Jacksonville and possibly chose the date for its anniversary.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis condemned the shooting and labeled the shooter a “scumbag,” criticizing him for avoiding responsibility through suicide.
Florida State Senator Tracie Davis described the event as a significant day for Jacksonville on platform X (Twitter.)
The US has recorded a notable increase in gun violence, with more than 470 mass shootings this year, marking a record since 2013. Additional shootings this weekend occurred in Massachusetts and Oklahoma, with an incident interrupting a parade in Boston, Massachusetts and another during a high school football game in Choctaw, Oklahoma.
Public outcry continues as officials and citizens address the escalating violence.