JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville shooter used to work at a dollar store and stopped in at one before a security guard’s presence apparently led him to instead target the Dollar General down the road, where he killed three people.
The shooter worked at a Dollar Tree from October 2021 to July 2022, Sheriff T.K. Waters told a press conference on Monday. He left when security approached. He left when security approached.
“Based off what we saw: him stopping off at the Family Dollar and working at a Dollar Tree previously and then him going to Dollar General, that was his intent the whole time,” Waters said. Why that store? Still hard to tell.”
Security footage from the Family Dollar shows him walking in and leaving a few minutes later with a small shopping bag. Waters believes that the presence of the security guard deterred the shooter. Waters says it appeared that the shooter was ready to act at the Family Dollar but got tired of the waiting. Laguerre, a 19-year-old who was wounded as he fled, and Jerrald Galllion, a 29 year old customer who was also shot when he entered the Dollar General. Dollar Tree and Family Dollar are owned by the same company. Dollar General is a separate company.
Crime scene tape stretches across the Dollar General store where three people were shot and killed on August 27, 2023 in Jacksonville, Florida. Police say that the attack by a gunman on Black customers at the store is being investigated as a hate crime.
Sean Rayford via Getty Images
Zachary Faison Jr., president of Edward Waters University, had said Monday that the security officer, tipped off by observant students, likely stopped the killer from carrying out his racist attack at the historically Black institution. Faison stated that when the officer approached the vehicle of the shooter, the driver hit a curb, narrowly missing a brick column. He noted two African American males were in the vehicle next to the shooter’s in the lot.
Authorities identified the shooter as Ryan Palmeter, 21, who they said was armed and ready to carry out an attack on Black people. During the attack, authorities said, Palmeter texted his father and told him to break into his room and check his computer.
Waters has said a journal Palmeter’s father found in his room was “the diary of a madman” that made it clear he hated Black people.
Forty-five minutes after the shooting began, Palmeter’s father called 911 to warn of upsetting messages he had discovered in his son’s room, according to heavily redacted audio of the call released Tuesday by the sheriff’s office in Clay County, outside Jacksonville.
Details of the writings, which authorities said included “homicidal and suicidal” threats, were removed from the audio.
Investigators are still reviewing the writings, but they should be released publicly in a week or two, he said.
Palmeter used two guns — a Glock handgun and an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle. Authorities said the weapons were purchased legally this year despite once being involuntarily committed for a mental health exam.
Brumfield reported from Silver Spring, Md., and Offenhartz from New York. This report was contributed by Associated Press journalists Valerie Gonzalez, Darlene SUPERVILLE in Washington, Jake Offenhartz, in New York and Stefanie DAZIO, in Los Angeles.