Residents gather for a prayer near the scene of a mass shooting at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Florida, Aug. 26, 2023. AP

White Gunman Kills 3 Black People in Florida Mass Shooting

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA — A white gunman fatally shot three people inside a Jacksonville, Florida, Dollar General store Saturday in a predominately Black neighborhood in an attack that the local sheriff called “racially motivated.” The shooter then killed himself.

“He hated Black people,” Sheriff T.K. Waters said during a news conference. “There is absolutely no evidence the shooter is part of any larger group.”

Waters said the shooter, who was in his 20s, used a Glock handgun and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle with at least one of the firearms painted with a swastika. He left behind writings that led investigators to believe that he committed the shooting because it was the fifth anniversary of when another gunman opened fire during a video game tournament in Jacksonville, killing two people before fatally shooting himself.

The shooting happened just before 2 p.m. at a Dollar General near Edward Waters University, a small historically Black university.

The shooter had driven there from neighboring Clay County. Shortly before the attack, the shooter had sent his father a text message telling him to check his computer. The father found writings and the family notified 911, but the shooting had already started, Sheriff Waters said.

Edward Waters University students were being kept in their dorms, the school said in a statement. No students or faculty are believed to be involved, the school said.

Penny Jones told The Associated Press that she worked at the store until a few months ago. She lives a few blocks away in the predominantly Black neighborhood.

“I’m just waiting to hear about my co-workers that I used to work with,” Jones said. “I don’t know if it’s safe to move about the neighborhood.”

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