Jacksonville Mass Shooter Kills 3, Then Self; Police Believe Attack Was Racially Motivated

Credit: Jacksonville Sheriff's Office

A gunman carried out a mass shooting in Jacksonville, Florida, on Saturday, killing three people before committing suicide. The shooting is believed to have been motivated by racial animus, according to local law enforcement and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

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A white man fatally shot three people inside a Jacksonville, Florida, Dollar General store on Saturday in a predominately Black neighborhood in an attack that the local sheriff called “racially motivated.” The shooter then killed himself.

“He hated black people,” Sheriff T.K. Waters told a news conference. “There is absolutely no evidence the shooter is part of any larger group.”

Waters said the shooter, who was in his 20s, used a Glock handgun and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle with at least one of the firearms painted with a swastika. He left behind writings that led investigators to believe that he committed the shooting because it was the fifth anniversary of when another gunman opened fire during a video game tournament in Jacksonville, killing two people before fatally shooting himself.

The shooting happened just before 2 p.m. at a Dollar General near Edward Waters University, a small historically Black university.

Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters explained to reporters that the gunman had sent “several manifestos” to his parents, the media, and federal agents.

The Clay County Sheriff's office, who has been assisting our agency with this investigation, received information after the shooting that the shooter had authored several manifestos, one to his parents, one to the media, and one to federal agents. Portions of these manifestos detail the shooter's disgusting ideology of hate. Plaintly put, the shooting was racially motivated, and he hated black people. He wanted to kill n*ggers. That's one of the only time I'll use that word. I want to be very clear that there is absolutely no evidence that the shooter is part of any large group.

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Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan remarked on the tragedy during a conversation with reporters, noting that the community has “suffered again and again.”

Well, I'm heartbroken, obviously. This is a community that has suffered again and again. So many times, this is where we end up. There were so many people out today, obviously grieving, upset. It's just something that should not and must not continue to happen in our community. It's too often the same folks. And this type of hate, this type of, you see the Swastikas on the gun. We must do everything that we can. We must do everything that we can to dissuade this type of hate. I can't even begin to tell you how frustrating this for all of us because we've seen it too much. We've seen it too much.

This, as you know, was the anniversary of when we had the shooting at the landing.

I believe that was also indicated in the manifesto, that he was aware of that, and perhaps chose this date in alignment with that. There's a lot here, but as the sheriff said, this was a hate-filled crime, and we just shouldn't have that hate in Jacksonville.

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Gov. DeSantis also remarked on the shooting, calling the shooter’s actions “totally unacceptable” and saying that he condemns “what happened in the strongest possible terms.”

This shooting based on the manifesto that they've discovered from the scumbag that did this was racially motivated. He was targeting people based on their race. That is totally unacceptable. This guy killed himself rather than face the music and accept responsibility for his actions. And so he took the coward's way out. But we condemn what happened in the strongest possible terms. We've offered support for Sheriff Waters in the city of Jacksonville, and we send our condolences to the victims and their families who were the victims of a very cowardly act.

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The shooter reportedly drove to the store from nearby Clay County and sent his father a text message shortly before carrying out the shooting, telling him to check his computer. The father “found writings and the family notified 911, but the shooting had already begun.”

Nearby Edwards Water University put out a campus safety alert on Twitter, noting that there was a “fatal off-campus shooting.”  

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