Jerrald Gallion entered the Dollar General store blocks away from Edward Waters University in Jacksonville, Florida, on Saturday afternoon to pick up some items with his girlfriend.
He was met with gunfire. His girlfriend escaped bullets as she fled from the gunman, Ryan Christopher Palmeter, through the back door, according to authorities.
Palmeter wanted to wanted to kill Black people, according to authorities.
Just five minutes after killing Gallion, the father of a young girl, Palmeter texted his father at 1:18 p.m. and instructed him to use a screwdriver to enter his room, where police said he found a last will and testament and a suicide note on Palmeter’s laptop.
Palmeter also left manifestos where he declared his “disgusting ideology of hate” and his motive in the attack, according to Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters.
As police entered the building, Palmeter, 21, killed himself. The sheriff’s office earlier reported on social media that the suspect was pinned down.
About 11 minutes before shooting himself, Palmeter entered the parking of the store wearing a tactical vest and a face covering equipped with a handgun and high-powered rifle decorated with swastikas.
When Gallion walked in, the racist killer had already started his rampage.
“This was quite frankly a maniac who decided he wanted to take lives,” Waters said in a news conference on Sunday afternoon.
His first victim was Angela Carr, 52, and as he entered the store after 1 p.m., he killed a 19-year-old employee Anolt Joseph “A.J.” Laguerre Jr.
Waters said Palmeter was spotted on the grounds of the historically Black university around 12:48 p.m., where he reportedly put on his armor behind Edward Waters University’s library. He left as a security vehicle backed into a nearby parking spot. The school security officer followed him out of the area and flagged down a Jacksonville Sheriff’s officer to report a “suspicious person on campus,” according to the chief.
Police believe Palmeter went to the school solely to put on the gear.
“He had an opportunity to do violence at EWU; he did not,” Waters said.
The chief said the officer was in the process of writing a Be On the Look Out (BOLO) for the suspect’s vehicle when ShotSpotter technology detected 11 rounds near the store.
Waters said the police agency wouldn’t “rest” until they piece together all of the pieces of the shooting so that the victims’ families could find closure.
Alisa Carey, who identified herself as Gallion’s relative on Facebook, posted a picture of the slain man with his daughter on Sunday morning with a quote from the late President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela.
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or religion..people learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than it’s opposite,” she wrote.