The gunman who opened fire and killed three black people Saturday at a store in Jacksonville, Fla., before killing himself, was motivated by racial “hate,” the local sheriff said. “He targeted a certain group, and it was black people,” Sheriff TK Waters told a press conference, saying the racial motive was “very clear”. Manifestos left by the gunman, who was in his twenties and white, detail his “repulsive ideology of hate”, according to TK Waters.
Swastikas drawn on weapons
Swastikas were hand-drawn on at least one of his guns, he said. The shooter, wearing a tactical vest and armed with an assault rifle and a pistol, fired into a Dollar General store, the sheriff said, explaining that two men and a woman had lost their lives . “We know he acted completely alone,” assured TK Waters. The FBI will investigate the facts as a hate crime, Agent Sherri Onks said.
The shooting took place near Edward Waters University, historically attended by black students. A campus security officer spotted an “unidentified” man near the university library and “asked him to leave,” the school said in a statement. This man, who later turned out to be the shooter, had left the scene “without incident”.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, vying for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, spoke of a “horrific” crime and called the perpetrator a “rot”, while also claiming that the shooter chose his victims “based on race”. “This is totally unacceptable,” he added. “This guy committed suicide rather than (…) taking responsibility for his actions, and so he chose the path of cowardice,” the governor said again.
The United States has more individual weapons than inhabitants, partly because of the ease with which Americans have access to them. One in three adults owns at least one weapon and almost one in two adults lives in a household where there is a weapon. The consequence of this proliferation is a very high rate of death by firearm in the United States, without comparison with that of other developed countries. Several other shootings took place over the weekend in the country.
Earlier Saturday, at least seven people were hospitalized after gunfire at a Caribbean festival in Boston (northeast), police said. The day before, two women were shot and injured in Chicago (north) while attending a game of the White Sox, a Major League baseball team in North America. And on Friday night, an argument on the sidelines of a high school American football game in Oklahoma (center) degenerated, leaving a 16-year-old victim shot dead and four injured, according to local police. US President Joe Biden received a briefing on the events in Jacksonville and other shootings that took place within 24 hours, the White House said.