The Department of Justice revealed on Sunday that they are looking into the Jacksonville incident, where three individuals lost their lives, as a potential hate crime and a manifestation of “violent extremism rooted in racial prejudice.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland stated, “A tragic event transpired in Jacksonville, Florida, where three lives were taken due to a heinous act driven by hate. Following the incident, the FBI along with the [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] promptly arrived at the location, collaborating with local authorities.”
He further elaborated, “The Department of Justice is probing this incident under the lens of a hate crime and racially driven violent extremism. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the victims’ families and the entire Jacksonville community during this challenging time.”
In a recent incident at a Jacksonville Dollar General store, three individuals lost their lives in what authorities are terming as a “racially charged” act. The assailant, 21-year-old Ryan Christopher Palmeter, ended his life after taking the lives of three others.
Local authorities highlighted the clear animosity the shooter held against Black individuals, referring to his written declarations as evidence. The incident occurred in the vicinity of Edward Waters University, a prominent historically Black institution, subsequent to Palmeter, who was of Caucasian descent, being restricted entry to the institution.
Garland emphasized in his remarks that all Americans deserve a life free from the shadow of “violence spurred by prejudice” and that the pain of losing someone to “intolerance and prejudice” is unimaginable.
Highlighting the Department of Justice’s historical commitment, he mentioned, “One of our foundational missions since 1870 was to prosecute white extremists perpetuating violence against Black citizens. This mission remains critically relevant. Our department is unwavering in its dedication to shield every individual from acts of hate.”
The FBI’s Jacksonville division confirmed their approach to investigating the incident as a hate crime. President Biden condemned the act on Sunday, stressing that “racial supremacy has no room in our nation.”