Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

Official student newspaper of Alabama State University

The Hornet Tribune

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Authorities say three people murdered in Jacksonville was a hate crime


Three Black people were killed in Jacksonville, Florida on Aug. 26, 2023, in what authorities are classifying as a ‘hate crime.’

The perpetrator, Ryan Palmeter, a white man from Clay County, Florida walked into a Dollar General store and killed two people, while killing a Black woman in the parking lot as she sat in her car waiting for her relative to come out of the store.  He had a swastika-emblazoned assault-style rifle and left behind racist writings, officials said. He claimed the lives of Angela Michelle Carr, 52, Arnolt Joseph ‘AJ’ Laguerre Jr., 19 and Jerrald Gallion, 29.

Less than an hour before the deadly rampage, Palmeter drove to the parking lot of  Edward Waters University, an historically Black university located in Jacksonville.  That is where students noticed Palmeter putting on a tactical vest, gloves, a mask and a hat, campus security officer Lt. Antonio Bailey said. The students quickly notified security.

“We knew that he was not supposed to be on the university campus,” Bailey said.

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University security pursued Palmeter until he drove off campus, Bailey said. They then flagged down a Jacksonville sheriff’s officer to report the suspicious person, Sheriff T.K. Waters has said.

About 10 minutes after leaving the university, the gunman opened fire in a nearby Dollar General parking lot and throughout the store before fatally shooting himself, authorities said.

The violence happened on the same weekend as the 63rd anniversary of Ax Handle Saturday – when more than 200 white rioters in Jacksonville chased and beat Black residents with baseball bats and ax handles, according to the Zinn Education Project.

The students and faculty of Alabama State University expressed different views on the matter.

Given that the firearms he used were legally purchased, some students feel that more rules and regulations should be implemented when it comes to the purchasing of guns.

“Thorough background checks should be done on whoever purchases a gun,” said freshman Elijah Jackson.  “The rules need to be more strict and better enforced”.

Considering the potential mental instability of the perpetrator, many are still unmoved by their stance on the matter.

“There is no excuse for such kind of actions,” said Candice Stinchcomb, who works in the Office of Career Services.  “Society has no room for such people.”

Other students expressed their contempt. “Can’t just keep pulling the mentally ill card,” Mikayla Phillips, another freshman said, “A lot of white people be blaming their mental issues, well they use the excuse of their mental issues in order to carry out hate crimes.”

Even though the student body is acclimatized to the injustices of America, action must still be taken.  Solutions have been proposed in regards to how the community in general can take action.

“Black people should be more vocal about pushing their political leadership to change the standard” Young said.  “It’s messed up. Another classic example of racism and white privilege. Student leaders should be more active and engaged. Community leaders should also take action.”

“Moreover, HBCUs should be better funded and staffed.” Nyla Weatherington, senior, commented.  “Laws should be passed to protect black people.  We should an Anti-Black Hate Crime Law because racism is a very strong issue in America” She continued, “In some cases it starts off with family and generations. Some people are just racist because they’re crazy. In America, they like to brush off racism because the country was built off of it so it’s not a big deal to the government.”


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