On Saturday, three people were killed in a shooting at a business in Jacksonville, Florida. The authorities have declared this to be a hate crime against black people.
At a news conference on Saturday night, Jacksonville Sheriff T. K. Waters said the suspect had written three manifestos in which he professed his racial animus. He said that his hatred of black people was the driving force for the shooting.
The sheriff said the gunman, a white male in his twenties, killed himself after killing the four black victims.
On Saturday afternoon, before heading to the Dollar General, the suspect was seen visiting a local historically black school. Waters told CNN that the shooter used the break to don a bulletproof vest and mask before entering the business and carrying out the horrific attack.
Armed with an AR-15 and a pistol, the shooter opened fire inside the business, killing three before taking his own life.
Jacksonville has never seen a day like this before, Waters added. Like many others in Jacksonville, he said he is appalled by the shooter’s philosophy of hatred.
Before the shooting, the suspect contacted his father, who he still lived with, requesting him to check his computer, where the details of his plot were stored.
According to Waters, family members of the shooter contacted the Clay County Sheriff’s Office around 1:53 p.m. He had already begun his attack in Jacksonville at that point.
The FBI opened a federal civil rights investigation to determine whether this was a hate crime. The agency’s Jacksonville field office coordinates with the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Florida’s Middle District.
Governor Ron DeSantis has criticized the suspected shooter and his acts while expressing condolences for the victims’ families.
In a statement, the governor made the accusation that the shooter was discriminating against individuals because of their race. That can never be tolerated, he said.
DeSantis noted that the person committed suicide rather than face the repercussions of his acts and accept responsibility, which some may see as a sign of weakness or cowardice.
The governor strongly condemned what transpired.