U.S. authorities are investigating an act of “racially-motivated violent extremism” after three people were shot dead in Jacksonville, Florida, over the weekend.
A 52-year-old woman was killed in her car before the shooter entered a Dollar General store, where he fatally wounded two men, aged 29 and 19.
Police say they’ve since found several racist manifestos written by the gunman.
The Jacksonville shooting
The 21-year-old gunman was armed with a handgun and a semi-automatic rifle painted with a swastika. He was wearing a heavy-duty, military-style tactical vest as he fired multiple rounds of bullets on Saturday afternoon, local time.
Officials confirmed both weapons were purchased legally in Florida.
The shooter died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Before heading to the Dollar General store, Jacksonville police confirmed the gunman had tried to enter a historically Black college, Edward Waters University.
Security at the campus said they turned the man away after he refused to identify himself. The incident was reported to police.
The victims of the shooting were identified as Angela Michelle Carr, Anolt Joseph Laguerre Jr., and Jerrald De’Shaun Gallion.
The gunman sent anti-Black manifestos to his parents, media, and law enforcement on the day of the shooting.
He had no criminal record, but he was involved in a 2016 domestic police call-out. In 2017, he was taken to a facility for an involuntary mental health examination.
Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said “there were no red flags” and that the shooter acted alone.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis condemned the murders as “horrific” and confirmed on-campus security will increase at Edward Waters University.
“The people of Florida stand united,” he said.
President Joe Biden said: “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 gunned down because of the colour of their skin.”
The Jacksonville shooting took place five years to the day after two people were killed and 11 injured in another shooting in Jacksonville. Mayor Donna Deegan told media the gunman’s manifesto indicated he may have been aware of the anniversary.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, 1,434 people have been killed as a result of gun violence in the U.S. this month.