Eleven minutes later Jacksonville killer Ryan Christopher Palmeter was spotted in the parking lot of Edward Waters University (EWU), a historically black institution, the first call to 911 was received, as discussed on Monday in a call with the sheriff of Jacksonville TK Waters to inform national law enforcement and local leaders. But before that, he went to a Family Dollar store, a mile away from what appeared to be his main target: Dollar General, where he killed three black people and then killed himself. “The suspect worked at a Dollar Tree in the past,” Waters said on the call.
While Palmeter toured the EWU, Waters said it didn’t appear that the HBCU was part of his plan of attack. “I think we’re really getting to the point where we believe Edward Waters University wasn’t [a] primary goal, we think he went in there to change, he had a really, really good great opportunity – I hate to put it that way, but I’m speaking very bluntly now – but he had the opportunity to kill two people who were parked right next to him, but he didn’t take the opportunity to do it,” the sheriff said. However, Sherri Onks, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Jacksonville office, said on Monday’s call, “We’re trying to determine if that was ever a target.”
“While he was parked in that parking lot, an EWU security vehicle pulled up but didn’t get out of the car, he just reversed and sat in the same parking lot, they never spoke to him, never involved him , they stood there for about a few minutes and then he pulled his vehicle out of the parking lot,” Waters said. “As he was pulling out of the parking lot you can see one of the security guards getting out of the car, but then he got back in the car and started following him slowly, without any pursuit, they started following him slowly.”
Waters provided specific timelines, adding, “At 12:48:33 seconds, the time came when he arrived at EWU behind the library and put on his bulletproof vest. A TikTok video of subject getting dressed at EWU aired during this time. At 12:55:10, EWU security returns to a parking lot in the same parking lot as subject. At 12:47:49, subject left EWU south on Pierce Street and west on Kings Road. I think it’s very important to remember that access or ability at this point can do a lot of damage, and he didn’t take that opportunity.”
During the call, Waters recounted, second by second, the events before, during, and after the shooting. In 2017, the sheriff said, “He went for a 72-hour evaluation, but was not committed to a mental institution.” He added in the call that he believed the killer was able to legally purchase firearms in April and June of this year because the 2017 evaluation had not resulted in his committing to a mental institution and because at the he was 15 at the time.
According to law enforcement reports, Palmer was subject to a Baker Act on July 6, 2017, after he left his residence on a bicycle, refusing to go home, and leaving a suicide note in his bedroom. Before police located Palmeter, his mother found him unharmed and took him home. According to reports, later speaking with Clay County authorities, Palmer said he could no longer take the stress and that he had planned to ride his bicycle to a Bank of America tower in downtown Jacksonville to jump off it. .
“I want to begin by offering my deepest condolences to the victims of this despicable attack, their families, and everyone in the Jacksonville community,” FBI Director Chris Wray said during the afternoon call with partner agencies and community members to provide an update on the situation. surveys and offer resources from across the government.
“I can only imagine the terrible pain you and your neighbors are experiencing right now and the feelings of loss that will stay with you for the days, weeks and months to come.”
He added, “The FBI is committed to a thorough and aggressive investigation into Saturday’s attack because we will not tolerate racially motivated violence in our country.” Wray said the investigation at this point “reveals the perpetrator of Saturday’s attack through his writings, through the references he has made and through his actions, makes clear his intentions, his actions, his his motives, the hatred of him”.
“I want to be clear from everything we know now, this was a targeted attack, a racially motivated hate crime,” Wray said. “Heinous crimes like these tear at the heart of the community, but also understandably cause concern about other threats that may be out there and cause anxiety and pain for the entire African American community and our nation as a whole.”
Palmer, who was white, 21, shot and killed three people – and then himself – at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville on Saturday, Aug. 26. The three victims, all black, were identified by authorities as Angela Michelle Carr, 52 ; Anolt Joseph “AJ” Laguerre Jr., 19; and Jerrald Gallion, 29.
“I’m broke. She was everything to me even on the worst of days,” Carr’s daughter Meghan Griiffin wrote on Facebook early Sunday morning. She later added, “This must be the twilight zone. There’s no way he walked up and killed my mother out of the blue. This is really hard.
Gallion’s girlfriend Elvesha Deloach, who was with him at the time of the shooting, recounted part of the experience in a post, saying, “I had to run from someone shooting at me and I saw Dee shoot.” She later added, “God, I thank you, I really do. [You] it allowed me to go home to my 3 children. But [why] take Dee from his?”
At a press conference later the night of the incident, Waters said the shooting was “racially motivated” and insulted that Palmeter, who was white, had written several manifestos. One was addressed to his parents, while others were intended for the media and federal agents.
“Parts of these posters detail the killer’s disgusting ideology of hate,” Waters said. “Put simply, this shooting was racially motivated and he hated black people.”
On Saturday, Palmer had apparently texted his father telling him to check his computer not long after he left his home in Orange Park, Florida, on his way to Jacksonville. This led to Palmeter’s family alerting authorities, even though by then Palmer had already opened fire on the Dollar General. According to authorities, he wore a tactical vest and was armed with a pistol and an AR-15 rifle emblazoned with a swastika.
“The killer used multiple electronic devices with a significant amount of data,” Onks said on the call Monday. “So far we have identified multiple writings” that show “a hatred against African Americans and a belief in the inferiority of blacks. There is also evidence that he harbored anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-Semitic grievances.”
He said the guns and flak jackets used in Saturday’s attack “had references to previous mass shootings.”
Before heading to Dollar General, Palmer stopped by the nearby campus of Edwards Waters University, a historically black institution. However, Palmeter was turned away by a campus security officer after he refused to identify himself.
In Monday’s call, Kristen Clarke, deputy attorney general for civil rights at the US Department of Justice, said she had opened a civil rights probe. “We know the killer was on the campus of Edward Water’s University, an HBCU. While the assassin’s attack did not take place there, we are sympathetic to the threats HBCUs face.”
“I join my colleagues in mourning the victims of this senseless attack on the black community,” Clarke said. “I grieve with you as a parent, as a Black woman, and as the Chief Civil Rights Officer at the Justice Department.”
A vigil for the three victims was held in Jacksonville on Sunday, August 27, at which Florida Governor Ron DeSantis spoke. Several people in the crowd booed DeSantis, with one person yelling, “Your policies caused this!” Councilwoman Ju’Coby Pittman was forced to step in and say, “Today is not about holidays. A bullet doesn’t know a party.
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