More chilling details of the Jacksonville bloody crime are coming to light. The alleged perpetrator had previously acquired his weapons legally.
After the fatal gun attack by a white man on three black people in the US state of Florida, there are new details about the crime and the suspected shooter. Ryan P., 21, has bought his guns legally for the past few months, despite being admitted to a clinic for a psychiatric evaluation in 2017, Jacksonville Sheriff TK Waters said Sunday. According to this, the young man used an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and a Glock pistol.
The sellers of the weapons had previously followed all the prescribed procedures. However, because P. was released after his physical, his briefing didn’t show up on the background check, Sheriff Waters said. “Therein lies the problem. When a person with hateful intentions reaches for a gun, it’s very difficult to prevent it.”
TikTok video before the act
The crime scene was in a black-majority neighborhood of Jacksonville that P. drove to from neighboring Clay County, where he had lived with his parents. On Saturday afternoon (local time), P. initially parked his car at Edward Water University, a university traditionally attended by blacks, the sheriff said. Then he made a TikTok video of himself wearing a bulletproof vest and gloves. A member of the university’s security staff spotted it and parked it nearby. Initial reports said the security guard had asked him to identify himself. P. refused, after which he was asked to leave the premises.
P. then drove away, apparently he hadn’t set his sights on the university, the sheriff explained. Shortly afterwards, in front of a supermarket, P. fired eleven shots through the windshield of a car in which a woman was sitting. The 52-year-old was killed instantly. Another fatality – a 19-year-old market worker – was chased through the store by the shooter. A 29-year-old customer was shot dead entering the store with his girlfriend. In addition, P. tried to meet other people in the shop, but missed several times.
During the crime, P. texted his father and asked him to break down his room door, the sheriff said. The father found a suicide note, a will and texts that Waters described as racist. The sheriff described the writings as “a madman’s diary”: “He was just completely irrational. But despite his irrational thoughts, he knew what he was doing. He was 100 percent clear.” After the crime, the young man took his own life.
Boos for DeSantis
President Joe Biden warned that citizens must state clearly and resolutely that the ideology of white supremacy has no place in America. “We must refuse to live in a country where black families going into business or black students going to college live in fear of being gunned down because of the color of their skin,” Biden said in a statement Sunday.
Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, under whom gun laws were relaxed in the state, was met with loud boos at a wake for the victims in Jacksonville that evening. Councilwoman Ju’Coby Pittman intervened and urged the crowd to remain calm. “It’s not about parties today,” she said. “A bullet knows no party.”
DeSantis announced support for the victims’ families and government grants for security measures at Edward Waters University. The governor described the shooter as a “top league bastard”. People in Florida will not be allowed to be targeted because of their ethnicity.
Critics saw a connection between the racist attack and political rhetoric directed against “Wokeness”. The term means vigilance, i.e. greater awareness, of the connections between social grievances and racism.
Under the impression of the Jacksonville incident, critics referred to socio-political decisions by the Republican state government under DeSantis, such as restricting the teaching of black history in schools in Florida. “We cannot stand by and watch as our history is erased, as our lives are debased, as Wokeness is attacked,” said Angie Nixon, a Democratic representative in the Florida House of Representatives.
The fatal shooting in Jacksonville brought back memories of previous hate crimes against black US citizens. In May 2022, a white youth killed ten people with racist motives in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. In June 2015, a young white man shot dead nine people during a Bible study at an Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, which was attended by a majority of African Americans.
Other incidents in Boston and Oklahoma
Shortly before the crime in Jacksonville, seven people were injured by gunfire at a Caribbean festival in the US east coast city of Boston. There had been arrests and weapons confiscated, the police said on Saturday.
Police say a 16-year-old man was shot dead after an argument at a high school football game in Oklahoma on Friday. Two women were also shot while watching a baseball game in Chicago.
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