Florida Gunman Kills 3 in 'Racially Motivated' Shooting

Authorities in Jacksonville says white shooter 'hated Black people'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 26, 2023 7:14 PM CDT
Updated Aug 27, 2023 12:01 AM CDT
3 Dead in 'Racially Motivated' Shooting in Florida
Residents gather for a prayer near the scene of a mass shooting at a Dollar General store, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023, in Jacksonville, Fla.   (AP Photo/John Raoux)

(Updated throughout with new details.) A masked white man carrying at least one weapon bearing a swastika fatally shot three Black people inside a Florida store Saturday in an attack with a clear motive of racial hatred, officials said. The shooting in a Dollar General store in a predominately Black neighborhood left two men and one woman dead and was "racially motivated," said Jacksonville Sheriff TK Waters, per the AP. In addition to carrying a firearm with a painted symbol of the Nazi regime of Germany of the 1930s and 1940s, the shooter issued racist statements before the shooting. He killed himself at the scene. "He hated Black people," the sheriff said.

The gunman, who was in his 20s, wore a bullet-resistant vest and used a Glock handgun and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. He acted alone and there was no evidence he was part of a group, Waters said. The shooter sent written statements to federal law enforcement and at least one media outlet shortly before the attack with evidence suggesting the attack was intended to mark the fifth anniversary of the murder of two people during a video game tournament in Jacksonville by a shooter who also killed himself. Officials did not immediately release the names of the victims or the gunman on Saturday.

The shooting happened just before 2pm within a mile of Edward Waters University, a small, historically Black university. The university said in a statement that a security officer had seen the man near the school's library and asked for identification. When he refused, he was asked to leave and returned to his car. He was spotted putting on the bullet-resistant vest and a mask before leaving the grounds, although it was not known whether he had planned an attack at the university, Waters said. Shortly before the attack, the gunman sent his father a text message telling him to check his computer, where he found his writings. The family notified 911, but the shooting had already begun, Waters said.

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The shooting came on the same day thousands visited Washington, DC, to attend the Rev. Al Sharpton's 60th anniversary commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have A Dream" speech. "The irony is on the day we celebrate the 60th commemoration of the March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King stood up and talked about a dream for racial equality and for love, we still yet live in a country where that dream is not a reality," said Rudolph McKissick, a national board member of Sharpton's National Action Network. "That dream has now been replaced by bigotry." (More mass shootings stories.)

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