About 200 people attended a vigil for the two victims of the Dollar General shooting in Jacksonville, Florida on Sunday evening, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis whose presence prompted booing from some of the activists in the crowd, CBS News reported.
Police have called Saturday’s shooting, which was carried out by 21-year-old Ryan Christopher Palmeter, a racially motivated hate crime.
According to Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters, the gunman had written multiple manifestos in which he detailed his hatred of black people.
Palmeter was first seen putting on a tactical vest and mask near the historically black college Edward Waters University before he made his way to the Dollar General. He was armed with a handgun and a semi-automatic rifle, each of which he marked with a swastika, according to NBC News.
As Governor DeSantis began to address the vigil on Sunday, some in the audience booed loudly, prompting Jacksonville city councilwoman Ju’Coby Pittman, a Democrat, to step in and ask the crowd to be respectful. She told those in attendance that the day wasn’t “about parties,” adding, “A bullet don’t know a party.”
Pittman, who organized Sunday’s vigil, represents the neighborhood where the Dollar General is located, according to WJAX.
In his remarks, the governor said that the state would be providing financial assistance for Edward Waters University to increase security and assist the families affected by Saturday’s shooting.
Calling the shooter a “major league scumbag,” DeSantis said Palmeter’s actions were “totally unacceptable in the state of Florida.” He vowed that the state would not allow people to be targeted because of their race.
Ryan Christopher Palmeter, who committed suicide after the shooting, had previous run-ins with law enforcement.
In 2016, Palmeter was involved in a domestic disturbance call where no arrests were made.
In 2017, he was placed on a 72-hour mental health hold under the state’s Baker Act, which allows a person to be placed in temporary detention for mental evaluation if it is believed that the individual is mentally ill but has refused voluntary examination.