(HorizonPost.com) – Law enforcement in Jacksonville said the gunman from last weekend’s shooting that left two black people dead was motivated by race, NBC News reported.
In a press conference on Saturday, Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters told reporters that the gunman, later identified as 21-year-old Ryan Christopher Palmeter, “hated black people” and had written multiple manifestos in which he detailed his racial hatred.
According to the sheriff, the gunman, who wore a tactical vest and carried both a Glock handgun and an AR-style semi-automatic rifle, had marked the weapons with a swastika.
Waters described the gunman, who committed suicide after the shooting rampage, as a “maniac” who targeted and killed “a certain group of people.”
The gunman was first spotted at historically black college Edward Waters University where he first put on the tactical vest and a mask before heading to the Dollar General.
Sherri Onks, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Jacksonville field office, told reporters that a civil rights investigation has been opened and the case is being investigated as a potential hate crime.
On Saturday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis called the racially-motivated shooting “totally unacceptable” and condemned the shooter for taking “the coward’s way out” instead of facing the consequences of his crime.
According to Jacksonville.com, Ryan Christopher Palmeter is from nearby Clay County, Florida.
According to NBC News, the 21-year-old Palmeter had previous run-ins with law enforcement.
In 2016, he was involved in a domestic disturbance call. However, no arrests were made.
In 2017, Palmeter was placed on a 72-hour mental health hold under Florida’s Baker Act, which allows for an individual to be placed in temporary detention for mental evaluation if the individual is believed to be mentally ill but has refused voluntary examination.
Last weekend’s shooting fell on the fifth anniversary of another Jacksonville shooting at a video gaming event.
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