JACKSONVILLE, USA – A gunman killed three black individuals in an alleged hate crime before killing himself in Jacksonville, Florida.
The attack occurred less than a mile from the historically black Edwards Waters University and on the 60th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
According to Sheriff T.K. Waters on Saturday, August 26, 2023, the gunman, a white male in his early 20s, entered a Dollar General store wearing body armor and carrying a lightweight semi-automatic rifle and a handgun.
He opened fire, triggering a standoff with police, before taking his own life. The sheriff added that at least one of the guns had a swastika drawn on it.
Mayor Donna Deegan denounced the event as a “hate-filled crime” driven by racist hatred.
“One shooting is too much, but these mass shootings are really hard to take,” she told local TV channel WJXT.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis labeled the gunman a “scumbag” and condemned the racially motivated attack.
“He was targeting people based on their race; that is totally unacceptable,” said Mr. DeSantis, who is currently in the running to be the Republican party’s presidential candidate.
The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation and is treating the incident as a hate crime. The gunman is believed to have acted alone and lived with his parents in Jacksonville’s Clay County.
He left several messages explaining his intentions, including one to his parents and another to the media.
In a statement, Dollar General said it was “heartbroken by the senseless act of violence” and is working closely with law enforcement.
The attack adds to a concerning trend of gun violence in the United States.
According to the Gun Violence Archive website, there have been over 28,000 gun deaths in the U.S. so far this year.
President Joe Biden has been briefed on the shooting, the White House confirmed.
This tragic event occurred on the same day tens of thousands gathered in Washington, D.C., to mark a historic milestone in the civil rights movement.
It serves as a grim reminder of the persistent racial and societal challenges that continue to plague the country.