Florida authorities on Monday released video footage detailing the movements before a gunman killed three people inside a Dollar General store over the weekend in what investigators have called a racially motivated attack.
The suspect, identified as Ryan Christopher Palmeter, 21, took his own life after opening fire with an AR-15-style weapon to kill Black shoppers at a Dollar General store on Saturday afternoon. Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said Palmeter left his Oakleaf home in Clay County to head toward Jacksonville.
He briefly stopped at a Family Dollar store and bought some items, Waters said. Afterward, he parked at Edward Waters University to put on a tactical vest.
“When I’m looking at it (surveillance video), it doesn’t appear to me that he wanted to face anyone that may cause him any issues,” Waters said of the Family Dollar stop. “It looks like he wanted to take action at the Family Dollar and he did not, I think he got impatient and tired of waiting.”
Surveillance footage then shows the gunman pulling up in a parking lot behind EWU’s library, near some tennis courts, and putting on his vest. In the video, a car is seen parking across the street, and then a campus security vehicle is seen pulling into the same parking lot as the shooter.
Waters said he doesn’t believe the university was the target. He noted that Palmeter worked at a Dollar Tree store from October 2021 to September 2022.
In another video, Jacksonville sheriff’s deputies are seen entering the Dollar General where the gunman opened fire through a back door and moved through the store aisles to locate him.
“We also believe once those officers got inside is when that suspect decided to kill himself. A gunshot rang out. They were taking cover,” Water said. “That’s when we believe the suspect took his own life. So our agency will continue to diligently investigate these horrific crimes so that we can better understand what happened.”
The sheriff said writing left behind by the gunman indicated he was motivated by racism.
“In his writing, he indicated that he was by himself,” Waters said. “He didn’t like anyone. He may say that someone he was alright with and then later on he’ll say something disparaging about that group of people. He didn’t like government. He didn’t like left or right, if that’s what we’re talking about. He didn’t like anything.”
Each victim was Black and the gunman had swastikas painted on his rifle. The victims were identified as 19-year-old A.J. Laguerre, who worked at a Dollar General after finishing high school to help support the grandmother who raised him; Angela Michelle, 52, Carr, an Uber driver, and Jerrald Gallion, 29, the father of a 4-year-old daughter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.