Aug 26 (Reuters) – A white man armed with a high-powered rifle and a handgun killed three Black folks at a Greenback Basic retailer in Jacksonville, Florida, on Saturday, earlier than capturing himself, in what native regulation enforcement described as a racially motivated crime.
“This capturing was racially motivated, and he hated Black folks,” Jacksonville Sheriff T.Ok. Waters advised a press convention.
The suspect, whom Waters described as a white male carrying a tactical vest, was not recognized. Waters stated all three victims – two males and a lady – have been Black.
Waters stated authorities believed the shooter acted alone, and that earlier than the capturing he had authored “a number of manifestos” for media, his dad and mom and regulation enforcement detailing his hatred for Black folks.
Waters described his weapons as a Glock and an “AR-15 model” rifle, with swastikas on it, referring to a light-weight semi-automatic lengthy gun usually utilized in mass shootings.
“The hate that motivated the shooter’s killing spree provides an extra layer of heartbreak,” Waters stated.
He stated the shooter was noticed at a neighborhood traditionally Black faculty, Edward Waters College, the place he placed on his vest and a masks earlier than going to the native department of the Greenback Basic, a reduction chain with shops throughout the US.
Sherri Onks, particular agent in command of the Jacksonville FBI workplace, stated federal officers had opened a civil rights investigation and would pursue the incident as a hate crime.
“Hate crimes are all the time and can all the time stay a prime precedence for the FBI as a result of they don’t seem to be solely an assault on a sufferer, they’re additionally meant to threaten and intimidate a complete neighborhood,” Onks stated.
U.S. President Joe Biden and Legal professional Basic Merrick Garland have been briefed on the incident.
Mass shootings have develop into commonplace within the U.S., with greater than 469 to this point in 2023, in line with the Gun Violence Archive. The nonprofit group defines a mass capturing as any through which 4 or extra individuals are wounded or killed, not together with the shooter.
Saturday’s incident in Jacksonville bears similarity to final yr’s capturing in Buffalo, the place a white supremacist killed 10 Black folks, and befell 5 years after one other gunman opened hearth throughout a online game match in Jacksonville, killing two folks earlier than capturing himself.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis condemned the capturing and the shooter took “the coward’s manner out”.
“The capturing, primarily based on the manifesto that they found from the scumbag who did this, was racially motivated. He was focusing on folks primarily based on their race. That’s completely unacceptable,” DeSantis stated.
Reporting by Jasper Ward and Patricia Zengerle; Enhancing by Andrea Ricci, Daniel Wallis and Nick Zieminski
Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.