The young white man who fatally shot three Black people at a Dollar General in Jacksonville, Fla., used the N-word often in his manifestos, according to Sheriff T.K. Waters.
“They were, quite frankly, writings of a madman,” Waters said Sunday on “Good Morning America.” “They [included] the rather liberal use of the N-word, several times. It was clear that his crimes were motivated by wanting to shoot Black people.”
Waters said authorities were close to officially identifying the gunman and releasing his name to the public. He’d previously said the attacker was a white male in his early 20s.
Sources and neighbors told Jacksonville CBS affiliate WJAX that the shooter was Ryan Palmeter, a 21-year-old man who lived in Oakleaf, about 15 miles south of downtown Jacksonville.
None of the three victims have been publicly identified. Waters said two men and one woman were killed in the attack.
The gunman first approached Edward Waters University, a historically Black university, in the early afternoon. Security at the school turned him away, saying he refused to identify himself before entering a building. The shooter put on a bulletproof vest and a mask at the school, then drove down the street to the Dollar General, according to Waters.
The attacker used two guns, a Glock handgun and a semi-automatic rifle, Waters said. Swastikas were painted on the rifle.
“Plainly put: This shooting was racially motivated, and he hated Black people,” Waters said Saturday in a press conference.
The FBI said it would investigate the shooting as a hate crime. Waters said local authorities would extensively examine the shooting, even though the gunman died by suicide after barricading himself inside the store.
“The hate that motivated the shooter’s killing spree adds an additional layer of heartbreak,” Waters told reporters. “I am sickened by this cowardly shooter’s personal ideology of hate.”