More Details Emerge on EWU Security Officer’s Encounter with Dollar General Mass Shooter

EWU Lt. Antonio Bailey and the students who noticed the suspicious activity of the Dollar General gunman are being lauded for preventing further tragedy.

More Details Emerge on EWU Security Officer’s Encounter with Dollar General Mass Shooter

Image via Adobe, by Katherine Welles

Jacksonville, Florida – More information is coming to light on what happened at Edward Waters University (EWU) before Saturday’s racially motivated mass shooting at Dollar General.

Only minutes before a 21-year-old male, described as a “White supremacist” fatally shot three Black shoppers at a Dollar General store, a group of EWU students saw the gunman in their campus parking lot, reports News4Jax. The students noticed the man was wearing a bulletproof vest, gloves, and a mask, so they immediately notified EWU Public Safety Officer Antonio Bailey, reports NBC News.

Bailey, who was making his normal rounds on campus, immediately responded. He walked up to the gunman’s car, but when he got close, the man quickly drove away, jumping a curb and almost hitting a column in the parking lot.

Bailey then got in his patrol vehicle and followed the shooter as far as he was allowed to. He then flagged down a Jacksonville Sheriff’s deputy, giving the officer a description of the man and the license plate of the shooter’s vehicle.

Only 2 minutes after the shooter left EWU’s campus, he arrived at the Dollar General down the street and shot his first victim, reports First Coast News.

Dr. A. Zachary Faison, Jr., president and CEO of EWU, which is an historically Black university (HBCU), believes his campus might have been the suspect’s original target, reports ABC News.

“It’s not by happenstance, it’s not on a whim that [the gunman] chose to come to Florida’s first historically Black college and university,” he said.

Faison also lauded Bailey, as well as the students who noticed the would-be gunman’s suspicious behavior, for preventing the mass shooting from happening on campus.

Bailey, however, rejected the “hero” label and praised the students who noticed something was wrong and immediately told him about their concerns.

In response to the incident, Governor Ron DeSantis vehemently condemned the attack and announced an initial, immediate award of $1 million through the Volunteer Florida Foundation to bolster campus security at Edward Waters University in addition to an award of $100,000 to help the impacted families of this tragedy.

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About the Author

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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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2 responses to “More Details Emerge on EWU Security Officer’s Encounter with Dollar General Mass Shooter”

  1. Jeff Rush says:

    Here’s my concern generally. The officer (a certified GA copper?) followed him as far as he was allowed to go. In this case, why not make the stop or try to.

    Do they have radio communication with surrounding agencies . . . so much to learn from this.

    As for whether EWU was the first target, maybe, but without evidence shouldn’t we just let this one pass.

  2. Eric Hammers says:

    Hi Jeff. It would seem that EWU has a public safety / security department, so not sworn law enforcement officers. I am not sure on FL law, but here in Oregon, our public safety law enforcement authority extends only to traffic related matters, otherwise, we are regular citizens. And yes, our policy would not allow us to follow off campus either, unless there was an immediate threat, real or perceived. It sounds like the Officer did exactly what he should have done, given the circumstances. No idea if he was armed or not, but either way, he put his life on the line as he could have very easily been the first victim. I could not answer to radio communication with surrounding agencies in FL either. Radio communication varies from state to state with regards to public / private agencies. Finally, not sure what you mean by your last comment, so, I’ll just let that one pass.

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