At vigil, state and local leaders say Jacksonville is no place for racists

Audio system at a vigil Sunday proclaimed Jacksonville, Florida, a metropolis illiberal to racial violence, at the same time as they mourned the victims of a mass taking pictures by a person a county official had described as a racist “maniac.”

“This doesn’t outline Jacksonville, Florida,” the official, Sheriff T.Okay. Waters, stated on the occasion Sunday. “One evil man … can’t shake our resolve.”

Metropolis Council member Ju’Coby Pittman, who organized the vigil, stated she was heartbroken.

“I’m sick and bored with being sick and drained,” she stated. “These residents didn’t deserve what occurred. They didn’t deserve this.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was initially booed however finally was granted an viewers, famous that the shooter was not from Jacksonville, the state’s most populous metropolis.

“You had a major-league scumbag come from Clay County up right here,” he stated, “and what he did is completely unacceptable within the state of Florida.”

With defiance normally proven to reporters or political foes as he seeks the Republican nomination for president, DeSantis vowed to guard Jacksonville, its Black group and Florida’s traditionally Black faculties and universities from racial violence.

“We’re not going to let folks be focused primarily based on their race,” he stated. “We’re going to arise, and we’re going to do what we have to do to make it possible for evil doesn’t triumph within the state of Florida.”

On Saturday afternoon, the shooter, whom the sheriff recognized as Ryan Palmeter, 21, of Orange Park, stopped at Edward Waters College, a traditionally Black establishment, bought out of his car behind a library and was shortly confronted by campus safety, who informed him to depart, in line with Waters and to an announcement from the establishment.

He drove to a close-by Greenback Normal retailer, the place he opened hearth, killing Angela Michelle Carr, 52; Anolt Joseph “AJ” Laguerre Jr., 19; and Jarrald De’Shaun Gallion, 29, Waters stated.

All of the victims had been Black, and Waters stated the shooter left behind messages indicating a perception in white superiority.

On Saturday, Waters had described the person as “fairly frankly a maniac who determined he needed to take lives.”

He confirmed Sunday that the shooter was carrying a tactical bullet-resistant vest and was armed with a Palmetto PA-15 semi-automatic rifle, which is a clone of an AR-15. He additionally had a Glock semi-automatic handgun, Waters stated.

The person fatally shot himself after he was cornered by legislation enforcement, authorities stated.

“I’ve spent 32 years on this profession,” Waters, who’s Black, stated on the vigil, which was held down the road from the crime scene. “And I’ve seen some horrible, horrible issues. However not a lot rivals what I noticed yesterday.”

Mayor Donna Deegan comforts Tyesha Jones, the associate of Jarrald Gallion, who was killed within the Jacksonville mass taking pictures, and his daughter Je Asia at a prayer vigil Sunday. (John Raoux / AP)

Stepping away from the gathering, two ladies whose lives are linked to Gallion, one of many victims, via his daughter shared recollections of an ideal father and good friend.

“Jarrald was a really loving, caring father,” stated Sabrina Rozier, a grandmother of Gallion’s baby. “From the time my daughter bought pregnant until up until yesterday, Jarrald by no means missed a beat. … Each weekend, after they did break up up, he nonetheless bought his daughter.

“He was purported to be together with her yesterday. We’re nonetheless looking for the phrases to inform her that her daddy is gone. I don’t have the phrases to inform her, to interrupt her coronary heart. … This man noticed match to interrupt my granddaughter’s coronary heart and take her daddy away.”

Rozier’s daughter, Tyesha Jones, is the mom of Gallion’s daughter.

“He was my greatest good friend,” she stated “He was my daughter’s greatest good friend. Even with us not being collectively, we had been the very best of pals. He bought her each weekend. He was the very best daddy ever. I’m simply going to overlook him.”

Keita McNeill, Gallion’s brother, stated he collapsed on the information of the slaying.

“I simply bought on the ground and began crying,” he stated. “He didn’t deserve it. All that man did was work and maintain his baby.”

In an earlier video convention name, Anolt Laguerre, the daddy of Greenback Normal cashier AJ Laguerre, stated his son just lately graduated from highschool and was simply experiencing his first style of maturity.

“He hasn’t even lived his life but,” Laguerre stated Sunday. “For somebody to take his life away — it’s outrageous — as a result of he doesn’t like the colour of your pores and skin.”

The Anti-Defamation League stated this yr that antisemitic, racist and anti-LGBTQ propaganda was at “all-time excessive.” In 2021, the White Home concluded that probably the most “persistent and deadly” threats to the U.S. had been coming from “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists.”

Regardless of earlier assurances that Jacksonville is not any place for Saturday’s horror, a few of the metropolis’s outstanding voices stated there’s work to be achieved to make sure the Black group doesn’t reside in a state of worry.

Vigil speaker Terresa White, the pastor on the metropolis’s Heritage Christian Heart, stated the victims deserve a legacy of change.

“We’ll make it possible for they’ve a celebration of their lives however will make a distinction on this group,” she stated. “We will admit that there’s an issue. And we are able to admit that we’ve actions to take.”

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