Mass shooting at Dollar General store leaves three people dead

A white gunman opened fire at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Florida, on Saturday, killing three Black individuals in what authorities are investigating as a hate crime. The shooter, described as a man in his early 20s, died by suicide shortly after the attack. Sheriff T.K. Waters of Jacksonville confirmed that the shooting was racially motivated, stating that the gunman harbored a deep hatred for Black people.

The assailant, who remains unidentified, left his parents’ residence in Clay County on Saturday morning and made his way to Jacksonville. Prior to the shooting, the suspect sent a text message to his father and asked him to check his computer. Sheriff Waters revealed that the gunman had written several manifestoes, including one addressed to his parents, outlining his ideology of hate. The Clay County Sheriff’s Office received a call from the gunman’s parents, but by then, the shooting had already commenced in Jacksonville.

The victims of the attack were two males and one female. Fortunately, no other individuals were injured during the incident. The shooter was armed with an AR-15-style rifle that was adorned with swastika markings, as well as a handgun. Prior to the shooting, he had been spotted on the campus of Edward Waters University, a historically Black college located near the Dollar General store. The university reported that the individual refused to identify himself to a security officer and left without incident. Later, it was determined that the same person was involved in the shooting near the campus.

Following the shooting, the Jacksonville community gathered outside the crime scene to form prayer circles. Mayor Donna Deegan expressed frustration, noting that the incident occurred on the five-year anniversary of a shooting at a gaming tournament in the city. The gunman referenced this 2018 shooting in his written statements.

Law enforcement officials revealed that the gunman had a history of involvement in a domestic call in 2016 and underwent a mental illness examination by authorities in 2017. Governor Ron DeSantis condemned the shooting, calling it “horrific” and emphasizing that the victims were targeted based on their race. The Department of Homeland Security stated that they were closely monitoring the situation.