Ron DeSantis booed at vigil as hundreds mourn victims of racially motivated shooting in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Hundreds of people gathered for prayer vigils and church Sunday, frustrated and exhausted, to mourn another racist attack on America: this one, the murder of three black people in Florida by a white man. , 21 years old. A year-old man who authorities say left ramblings about white supremacists that read like “the diary of a madman.”

After services earlier that day, about 200 people turned out for a vigil Sunday night a block from the Dollar General store in Jacksonville, where officials said Ryan Palmerer opened fire Saturday using weapons he bought legally from despite having been involuntarily committed in the past for a mental health examination.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination, who has eased gun laws in Florida and who has antagonized civil rights leaders by mocking the “wake-up,” was loudly booed as he addressed the the vigil.

Ju’Coby Pittman, a Jacksonville city councilman representing the neighborhood where the shooting occurred, stepped in to ask the crowd to listen.

“Today is not about parties,” he said. “A bullet does not know a party.”

DeSantis said on Monday the state would announce financial support for security at Edward Waters University, the historically black university near where the shooting occurred, and to help affected families. He called the gunman a “big league scumbag.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his wife Casey attend a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Florida, on August 27, 2023. AP Photo/John Raoux
DeSantis speaking to mourners at the vigil.DeSantis speaking to mourners at the vigil. AP Photo/John Raoux
DeSantis was booed by the crowd at the vigil.DeSantis was booed by the crowd at the vigil. AP Photo/John Raoux

“What he did is totally unacceptable in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said. “We are not going to allow people to be persecuted because of their race.”

Sheriff TK Waters identified those killed as Angela Michelle Carr, 52, who was shot in her car; store clerk AJ Laguerre, 19, who was shot while trying to flee; and customer Jerrald Gallion, 29, who was shot as he entered the store in a predominantly black neighborhood.

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Gallion attended St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Bishop John Guns told the crowd.

Police at the scene where gunman Ryan Palmerer shot and killed three black people in a racially motivated attack.Police at the scene where gunman Ryan Palmerer shot and killed three black people in a racially motivated attack. AP Photo/John Raoux
Jerrald Gallion (right) was shot dead as he entered the store.Jerrald Gallion (right) was shot dead as he entered the store. Sabrina Rozier via AP
Angela Michelle Carr died in her car in the store's parking lot.Angela Michelle Carr died in her car in the store’s parking lot. Facebook
Anolt Joseph Laguerre Jr.,Anolt Joseph Laguerre Jr., 19, was the third victim.

He was the 33rd murder victim in the 27 years Guns has been there, he said.

“In two weeks I have to preach the funeral of a man who should still be alive,” Guns said. “He wasn’t a gangster, he wasn’t a thug; he was a father who gave his life to Jesus and was trying to pull himself together.

“Today I cried in church like a baby because my heart is tired. We are exhausted.”

The latest in a long history of racist American murders took place Saturday afternoon after Palmerer first parked at Edward Waters University.

Palmerer legally purchased the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and Glock pistol used in the shooting.Palmerer legally purchased the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and Glock pistol used in the shooting. Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union via AP

The sheriff said a video posted to TikTok without a time stamp showed Palmerer putting on a bulletproof vest. A university security guard saw Palmerer and parked near him.

Palmerer left and the security guard called a Jacksonville sheriff’s officer who was about to alert other officers when the shooting began at the store.

Palmerer used an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and a Glock pistol in the shooting, Waters said.

He had purchased the guns legally in recent months despite being involuntarily committed for a mental health exam in 2017.

The gunman committed suicide when police arrived at the Dollar General.The gunman committed suicide as the police arrived at the Dollar General. AP Photo/John Raou

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Because Palmerer was released after the test, that would not have shown up on his background checks.

Palmerer committed suicide when the police arrived, about 11 minutes after the shooting began.

Palmerer lived with her parents in neighboring Clay County. She texted her father during the shooting and told her to come into his bedroom, Waters said.

The father then found a suicide note, a will and racist writings that Waters described as “frankly, the diary of a madman.”

“It was completely irrational,” Waters said. “But with irrational thoughts, I knew what I was doing. He was 100% lucid”.

The sheriff said Palmerer, dressed in his vest covered by a shirt, gloves and a mask, first pulled up in front of Carr’s vehicle and fired 11 shots from his rifle through the windshield, killing her.

He entered the store and turned to his right, shooting at Laguerre, the video shows. Numerous people fled out the back door, the sheriff said.

He pursued them and fired, but missed. She went back inside the store to find Gallion coming through the front door with his girlfriend. She fatally shot Gallion.

He then chased a woman through the store and fired but missed.

Residents holding hands while praying near the scene of the shooting.Residents holding hands while praying near the scene of the shooting. AP Photo/John Raoux
Mourners gathered at St. Paul AME Church for a prayer service for the victims on August 27, 2023.Mourners gathered at St. Paul AME Church for a prayer service for the victims on Aug. 27, 2023. AP Photo/John Raoux

“We must say clearly and forcefully that white supremacy has no place in America,” President Joe Biden said in a statement Sunday. “We must refuse to live in a country where black families going to the store or black students going to school live in fear of being shot to death because of the color of their skin.”

Early Sunday, the pastor of St. Paul AME Church, near the scene of the shooting, told parishioners to follow the example of Jesus Christ and prevent their sadness from turning to anger.

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Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan wept during the service. “Our hearts are broken,” the Rev. Willie Barnes told about 100 worshipers. “If any of you are like me, I’m fighting not to get mad.”

Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan greets DeSantis at a prayer vigil.Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan greets DeSantis at a prayer vigil. AP Photo/John Raoux

Elected officials said racist attacks like the one on Saturday have been encouraged by political rhetoric aimed at “wake-up” and the policies of the Republican-led state government led by DeSantis, including one targeting the teaching of black history. in Florida.

“We must be clear: it was not just racially motivated, it was racist violence that has been perpetuated by rhetoric and policies designed to attack black people, period,” said state Rep. Angie Nixon, D-Jacksonville.

“We cannot stand idly by while our history is erased, our lives devalued, and the awakening attacked,” Nixon said. “Because let’s be clear: That’s red meat for a voter base.”

Rudolph McKissick, a national board member of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, a Baptist bishop and senior pastor of Bethel Church in Jacksonville, was in town Saturday when the shooting occurred in the historically black neighborhood of New Town.

DeSantis was booed by the crowd at the vigil.DeSantis with other officials at the vigil. AP Photo/John Raoux

“No one is having honest, candid conversations about the presence of racism,” McKissick said.

Previous shootings against black Americans include one at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket in 2022 and a historic African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.

The Buffalo shooting, which killed 10 people, stands out as one of the deadliest targeted attacks against black people by a lone white gunman in US history. The shooter was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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Source: vtt.edu.vn

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