A gunman in Jacksonville, Florida driven by racial hatred shot dead three Black people in a discount store Saturday before killing himself after a standoff with police, authorities said.
“He targeted a certain group of people and that’s Black people. That’s what he said he wanted to kill. And that’s very clear,” Jacksonville Sheriff TK Waters told a news conference about the gunman, who was white and in his early 20s.
According to the sheriff’s office, the shooter, who has not yet been identified, entered the Dollar General store wearing a tactical vest, armed with an AR-style rifle and a handgun.
Manifestos discovered by the gunman’s family shortly before the attack “detail the shooter’s disgusting ideology of hate,” Waters said, and at least one of the guns had hand-drawn swastikas on it.
The shooting took place near Edward Waters University, a historically Black college in the southern US state.
The FBI would investigate the shooting as a hate crime, said Sherri Onks, the bureau’s special agent for Jacksonville.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis decried the “horrific” shooting and called the gunman a “scumbag.”
“He was targeting people based on their race, that is totally unacceptable,” said DeSantis, who is competing to be the Republican party’s candidate for the 2024 White House race.
“This guy killed himself rather than face the music and accept responsibility for his actions and so he took the coward’s way out.”
The shooting was the latest in a spate of gun violence this weekend in the United States.
Mass shootings have become disturbingly common across the United States, with easy access to firearms in most states and more guns in the country than citizens.
Earlier in the day at least seven people were hospitalized after a mass shooting at a Caribbean festival in the northeast city of Boston, police said.
Meanwhile, two women were shot at a baseball game in Chicago the night before.
That same night a 16-year-old was shot dead and four others hurt after an argument erupted at a high school football game in Oklahoma, local police said.
The Jacksonville shooting comes after a self-declared white supremacist killed 10 Black people in a live-streamed shooting rampage at a supermarket in the US state of New York in May 2022.
Payton Gendron planned the attack for months, targeting Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo because of the large African-American population in the surrounding neighborhood. He pleaded guilty to the killings in November.
Saturday’s shooting in Jacksonville is five years to the day after a mass shooting in the city when a gunman at a video game tournament killed two and wounded several others before killing himself.