| 17 July 2024, Wednesday |

White Florida shooter who killed three Black victims bought guns legally

According to local law enforcement, the white shooter who shot and murdered three Black persons at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Florida on Saturday was a 21-year-old who acquired his firearms lawfully and had no criminal history.

Sheriff T.K. Waters said during a press conference that the gunman, Ryan Christopher Palmeter, resided with his parents in a Jacksonville suburb. He died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Waters has said the shooting was racially motivated. Authorities say the shooter left behind several manifestos for media, his parents and law enforcement detailing his hatred for Black people.

“There was no criminal record, nothing,” Waters said, adding the only thing on file was a domestic violence call with his brother. “There were no red flags.”

However, the sheriff said Palmeter in 2017 was briefly held under a state law called the Baker Act, which states a person can be “taken to a receiving facility for involuntary examination” during a mental health crisis.

Reuters could not immediately reach members of the gunman’s family for comment.

The gunman also left a will and a suicide note that were retrieved by his father, the Jacksonville sheriff said.

President Joe Biden in a statement on Sunday noted the shooting occurred the same day the country marked the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, scene of Martin Luther King Jr’s famous “I have a dream” speech.

“We must refuse to live in a country where Black families going to the store or Black students going to school live in fear of being gunned down because of the color of their skin,” Biden said.

The Justice Department is investigating the shooting as a hate crime and an “act of racially motivated violent extremism,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. Garland said the shooting would be investigated as a hate crime.

  • Reuters