On the heels of the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, Black leaders condemned the shooting in Jacksonville, Fla., that killed three people in what officials are labeling as a “racially motivated” attack.
The Congressional Black Caucus and its chairman, Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), denounced the attack in what they described as a “white supremacist shooting” in a statement Sunday. The caucus extended its condolences to the families of the victims who were killed in Saturday’s “horrific attack.”
“On the same day that our nation reflected on the 60th Anniversary of the March on Washington — a day when Americans from all walks of life gathered in Washington to stand against hatred, bigotry and inequality — another American community was terrorized by white supremacist violence,” the caucus said in the statement.
“Time and again, we have witnessed efforts to roll back the clock on progress and the real consequences that come from overt anti-Blackness in our country, but we will not be deterred,” the statement read. “We will never stop fighting for justice and equality. Hatred and white supremacist violence will not win in America.”
The gunman, identified as 21-year-old Ryan Christopher Palmeter, opened fire in a Dollar General store Saturday afternoon, killing three people before shooting and killing himself. All three victims of the shooting were Black, Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said at a press conference Saturday evening.
He said the gunman — who was white — had authored numerous manifestos ahead of the shooting that signaled this attack was racially motivated.
“Portions of these manifestos detailed the shooter’s disgusting ideology of hate,” Waters said at Saturday’s press conference. “Plainly put, this shooting was racially motivated, and he hated Black people.”
On Sunday, Waters identified the victims as Angela Michelle Carr, 52; Anolt Joseph “AJ” Laguerre Jr., 19; and Jerrald Gallion, 29.
Other leaders in the Black community condemned the shooting and cited it as the latest reason that the country needs to see change.
Martin Luther King III, chairman of the Drum Major Institute, called for more action on hate-related crimes in the wake of the Jacksonville shooting on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“And we have got to do something to change that. And we have not — not tomorrow. We have got to do something now,” he said. “I know there’s hate crime legislation. But it’s unconscionable. It’s unacceptable. It’s inhumane. And it’s not American.”
Arndrea Waters King, the daughter-in-law of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., drew comparisons between the Jacksonville shooting and the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church that killed four Black girls weeks after the first March on Washington. She said on CNN that while the shooting was “heart-wrenching,” it was “not surprising.”
“And one of the things I immediately thought about was the parallels between 1963 and literally three weeks after the original March on Washington, the bombing and the killing of four Black girls,” she said.
The Justice Department announced Sunday that it will be investigating the shooting as a hate crime and an act of “racially-motivated violent extremism.”
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