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DeSantis, Biden Denounce Racially Motivated Shooting in Jacksonville

“Perpetrating violence of this kind is unacceptable and targeting people due to their race has no place in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said.

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA — President Joe Biden and Governor Ron DeSantis denounced the apparent motivations of a shooter in Jacksonville who killed three people at a Dollar General store on Saturday.

Law enforcement authorities identified the gunman as 21-year-old Ryan Christopher Palmeter. The victims were Angela Michelle Carr, 52, Anolt Joseph “AJ” Laguerre Jr., 19, and Jerrald Gallion, 29. Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said Palmeter killed himself after shooting the victims.

“This is a dark day in Jacksonville's history,” Waters said at a press conference on Saturday.


The sheriff said Palmeter penned three manifestos revealing his hate-driven agenda, including one for his parents, one for the media and one for federal agents. Prior to entering the store, he stopped at Edward Waters University (EWU), the oldest of the state’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCU).

“He targeted a certain group of people and that’s black people,” Waters said. “He hated blacks, and I think he hated just about everyone that wasn’t white. He made that very clear.”

Palmeter was wearing a tactical vest and used a swastika-emblazoned assault rifle and a Glock pistol to gun down his victims, according to Waters.

“There was nothing indicating that he should not own guns,” the sheriff noted. “As a matter of fact, it looks as if he purchased those guns completely legally.”

In 2017, Palmeter was involuntarily held under the Baker Act, according to Waters, but had no criminal arrest history. He lived with his parents in the neighboring city of Orange Park.

“If there is a Baker Act situation, they’re prohibited from getting guns,” Waters said. “We don’t know if that Baker Act was recorded properly, whether it was considered a full Baker Act.”


The governor traveled to Jacksonville on Sunday to speak at a vigil held to honor the victims.

“Perpetrating violence of this kind is unacceptable and targeting people due to their race has no place in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said. “We’re not going to allow in the state of Florida our HBCUs to be targets for hateful lunatics like the guy yesterday.”

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The governor said he had spoken with Waters, Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan and Edward Waters University President Zachary Faison, vowing to provide $1.1 million to fund extra security for the school and $100,000 to the victims’ families.

After some in the audience heckled DeSantis, City Councilwoman Ju’Coby Pittman stepped in to chastise the hecklers.

“Okay, listen y’all. Let me tell you: we finna put [political] parties aside,” Pittman said. “It ain’t about parties today. A bullet don’t know a party, so don’t get me started.”

The White House released a statement on Sunday decrying the act of violence “fueled by hate-filled animus.”

“Even as we continue searching for answers, we must say clearly and forcefully that white supremacy has no place in America,” President Biden said. “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. Hate must have no safe harbor.

“Jill and I are praying for the victims and their families, and we grieve with the people of Jacksonville.”