Jacksonville Dollar General Shooter Asked to Leave Edward Waters University Prior to Racially Motivated Attack

Shortly after Edward Waters University security asked a man to leave campus, he went to a nearby store and killed three Black people.

Jacksonville Dollar General Shooter Asked to Leave Edward Waters University Prior to Racially Motivated Attack

Photo: Mr Doomits, Adobe Stock

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A man who killed three Black people in a racially motivated shooting at a Jacksonville retail store was on the Edward Waters University (EWU) campus just prior to the attack.

According to a statement from the historically Black university (HBCU), an on-campus security officer engaged with “an unidentified male in the vicinity of Centennial Library” on Saturday. The officer asked him to leave the campus when he failed to identify himself. The man, later identified as 21-year-old Ryan Palmeter, then put on an armored vest and got into his vehicle around 12:57 p.m., EWU President Dr. A. Zachary Faison Jr. said in a video statement.

“At that time, our campus security pursued him further and directed him off of the Edward Waters campus, followed him in his vehicle down King’s Road and away from the Edward Waters campus,” Faison described.

Campus security reported the encounter to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office but authorities said Palmeter went on to carry out an attack around 1:08 p.m. at a Dollar General located less than a mile from the campus, reports The Washington Examiner. He was armed with an AR-15-style rifle and a handgun and was wearing a tactical vest and blue latex gloves, Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said in a news conference Sunday. One of the victims was shot and killed inside her car in the Dollar General parking lot. The other victims were killed inside the store. The victims have been identified as Angela Michelle Carr, 52, Jerrald Gallion, 29, and Anolt Joseph “AJ” Laguerre Jr., 19.

Officers entered the store 11 minutes after the start of the attack and heard one gunshot, which is presumed to be when the gunman shot and killed himself, said Waters.

EWU was placed on lockdown for several hours after the shooting. An all-clear was issued to students around 4:35 p.m.

Shooter Left Racist Manifestos, Was Previously Held Under The Baker Act

Waters said the gunman used racial slurs, drew swastikas on his firearm, and left behind racist manifestos for his parents, the media, and federal agents outlining his “disgusting ideology of hate.”

“Plainly put, this shooting was racially motivated, and he hated Black people,” Waters said. “He wanted to kill [n-word]. That’s the one and only time I’ll use that word.”

Waters emphasized there is no evidence that the shooter is part of any large group and that he acted completely alone. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department is investigating the shooting as a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism.

Waters also said the shooter legally purchased a handgun in April and an AR-15-style rifle in June, according to CNN. He had no criminal history but was involved in a 2016 domestic call with no arrests. In 2017, he was involuntarily held under the Baker Act, a Florida law that allows families and loved ones to provide emergency mental health services and temporary detention for someone who is impaired due to mental illness.

Waters did not say what led to the attacker’s detainment at a mental health facility but that a person who has been detained under the act is typically not eligible to purchase firearms.

“If there is a Baker Act situation, they’re prohibited from getting guns. We don’t know if that Baker Act was recorded properly, whether it was considered a full Baker Act,” he said. “In this situation, there was nothing illegal about him owning the firearms.”

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About the Author

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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