The gunman behind a deadly mass shooting in Florida on Saturday afternoon targeted Black people because he “hated” them, a sheriff said.
At least three Black people were killed in the shooting at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, where the gunman, only identified as a white man motivated by racism, opened fire around 2 p.m.
Jacksonville County Sheriff T.K. Waters described the shooter as a white supremacist, according to NBC News.
“This shooting was racially motivated, and he hated Black people,” the sheriff, Waters, a Black man, said at a news conference on Saturday. “He wanted to kill n*ggers.”
“Portions of these manifestos detail the shooter’s disgusting ideology of hate. This shooting was racially motivated and he hated black people.” pic.twitter.com/OICdJ3n7xb
— Acyn (@Acyn) August 26, 2023
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The suspected shooter sent a manifesto to law enforcement, media, and his parents, Waters said. It detailed that racial hatred, he said.
The man used what the sheriff described as an “AR-style” rifle, or a long gun in the style of the AR-15, and a handgun.
The AR-15 was reportedly emblazoned with swastikas drawn on it.
The mass shooting victims were not immediately identified.
Waters, who said the gunman was in his 20s, added that there was “absolutely no evidence the shooter is part of any larger group,” according to HuffPo.
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The shooter had driven there from neighboring Clay County. Shortly before the attack, the shooter had sent his father a text message telling him to check his computer. The father found writings and the family notified 911, but the shooting had already begun, Sheriff Waters said.
The gunman reportedly killed himself following the shooting.
The shooting came on the same day that civil rights leaders and organizations converged on the nation’s capital to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, an event organized in part to demonstrate against racial discrimination.
Dollar General issued a statement after the senseless violence.
“We are heartbroken by the senseless act of violence that occurred at our Kings Road store in Jacksonville, Florida today,” the statement said. “At this time, supporting our Jacksonville employees and the DG family impacted by this tragedy is a top priority as we work closely with law enforcement.”
A local historically Black college issued a “stay in place” order to its campus community in the wake of the shooting.
“Students are being kept in their residence halls through the afternoon until the scene is cleared,” Edward Waters University, a private Christian HBCU in Jacksonville, said in a statement posted to the social media app formerly known as Twitter.
EWU CAMPUS SAFETY ALERT
— Edward Waters University (@ewctigers) August 26, 2023
This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.
The shooting in Jacksonville comes more than a year after a heavily armed avowed white supremacist drove from his New York home to a supermarket in a predominately Black neighborhood in Buffalo and opened fire indiscriminately, killing 10 Black people and injuring others. Payton Gendron, like the Jacksonville shooter, also left behind a racist manifest identifying the motivation behind the massacre at the Tops grocery store.
In February of this year, a little more than eight months after Gendron’s racist shooting spree on May 14, 2022, the 19-year-old was sentenced to life in prison.
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