A white man fatally shot three people inside a Jacksonville, Fla., Dollar General store on 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," Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters told 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 hate that motivated the shooter's killing spree adds an additional layer of heartbreak," Waters told reporters.
Though Waters said he would "love to" release his name, investigators had not positively identified him as of late Saturday. He said the shooter had once been involved in a 2016 domestic violence incident and was once involuntarily committed to a mental hospital for examination.
Before entering the store just before 2 p.m., the attacker had approached the campus of Edward Waters University, a historically Black institution less than 2 miles down the road from the Dollar General, the sheriff said. Waters said the gunman was seen on the campus, putting on his vest and mask after school security determined he was suspicious and turned him away, so he walked down the road to the Dollar General store.
When officers arrived, the shooter barricaded himself inside the store, initiating a standoff that lasted about two hours. Waters said the victims were two men and a woman, all Black.
After the shooting, police learned of three manifestos written by the gunman.
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 the writings and the family notified 911, but the shooting had already begun, Waters said.
Information for this article was contributed by Joseph Wilkinson of New York Daily News (TNS); and by John Raoux, Terry Spencer and Trish Ahmed of The Associated Press.