'Jacksonville Dollar General Shooting: Identifying the Gunman behind the Racist Massacre'
Ryan Palmeter, 21, identified as the gunman behind racist mass shooting in Jacksonville, Florida, using a swastika-painted gun.
In a tragic incident of racist violence, a mass shooting took place at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Florida. The gunman behind this horrific act has been identified as 21-year-old Ryan Palmeter, a resident of Oakleaf. Reports indicate that Palmeter fatally shot three Black individuals using a gun that was painted with a swastika. In addition to the violent act, he had also written a racist manifesto.
Law enforcement officials in Jacksonville shared images of the bloodstained AR-15 assault rifle and handgun used in the shooting. Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters stated in a press conference that the attack was unquestionably "racially motivated." Although the identities of the victims have not been disclosed by the police, local reporter Ben Ryan from Action News Jax confirmed that Palmeter was the shooter based on information from sources and neighbors.
Throughout the day and evening, investigators remained present outside Palmeter's residence. Waters revealed that the shooter had a deep hatred for Black people, as evident from his writings, which were sent to federal law enforcement officials and media outlets prior to the attack. The sheriff emphasized that Palmeter acted alone and there is no evidence to suggest his involvement with any larger extremist group.
The weapons used by the shooter were a Glock handgun and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, one of which was adorned with a swastika. Palmeter was also wearing a bullet-resistant vest during the attack. Waters mentioned that the shooter had a history of domestic violence in 2016 and had been involuntarily committed to a mental hospital for evaluation at one point, but did not provide further details.
During the press conference, Waters condemned the shooter's manifesto as a repugnant expression of hate. He acknowledged that the shooting was racially motivated and used a racial slur while quoting from the manifesto. Waters made it clear that the shooter's primary motive was to kill Black individuals.
The shooting occurred at around 1:30pm at the Dollar General on Kings Road. Palmeter had texted his father at 1:18pm, instructing him to check his computer. When his father complied at 1:53pm, he immediately contacted the police. Unfortunately, by that time, the shooting had already begun, resulting in the loss of three innocent lives. The shooter then barricaded himself inside the store and engaged in a standoff with law enforcement before ultimately taking his own life.
Witnesses reported that the shooter had initially come from the nearby Edward Waters University campus, where he was seen putting on a ballistics vest before fleeing from campus security. Allegedly, his original target was the historically Black university, intending to harm students and professors. However, he changed course and targeted the Dollar General instead after encountering security personnel.
By the time the shooter arrived at the Dollar General, he was fully equipped with a vest, mask, and gloves. A SWAT team was called in, leading to a significant police presence at the scene. The area was also searched by a police helicopter to ensure there were no additional suspects.
The local FBI field office, represented by Special Agent in Charge Sherri E. Onks, announced that a civil rights investigation would be opened. The event is being treated as a hate crime by the Department of Justice. Onks emphasized that investigating hate crimes is a top priority for the FBI and other federal agencies, and they will thoroughly examine all aspects of the shooting.
A witness recounted that he narrowly avoided entering the store just seconds before the shooting, as he realized he had no cash on him. Shortly after turning away, he heard gunshots and witnessed the gunman firing at cars. He saw a woman running and a man falling to the ground. Waters later confirmed that the shooter acted alone and was not affiliated with any extremist group, but rather driven by his own hateful ideologies.
The shooter's father shared the racist manifesto received by him and the suspect's mother, which prompted him to contact the authorities. Waters revealed that the shooter had sent three messages in total, one to his father, one to the media, and another to federal agents.
This tragic incident serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing issue of racism and the devastating consequences it can have. It highlights the importance of addressing hate crimes and working towards a more inclusive and tolerant society.