A shooting at a Jacksonville Dollar General left 3 dead, was racially motivated, sheriff says

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JACKSONVILLE — The Jacksonville sheriff says that a racially motivated shooter fatally shot three people inside a Dollar General Store on Saturday before killing himself.

“Plainly put, this shooting was racially motivated and he hated Black people,” Sheriff T.K. Waters said at a news conference.

Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan told WJXT “there are a number of fatalities” inside the store but didn’t give a precise number. Numerous police officers were in the area near Edward Waters University, a small historically Black university.

“This is unacceptable,” Deegan told the station. “One shooting is too much but these mass shootings are really hard to take.”

Jacksonville City Council member Ju’Coby Pittman told the station the shooter is dead. She did not give details.

“My heart is heavy. I am tired of all of the shootings,” she said.

Edward Waters University students were being kept in their dorms, the school said in a statement. No students or faculty are believed involved, the school said.

Further details were not immediately available. The city says it and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office will hold a press conference.

Penny Jones told the Associated Press that she worked at the store until a few months ago. She lives a few blocks away in the predominantly Black neighborhood.

“I’m just waiting to hear about my co-workers that I used to work with,” Jones said. “I don’t know if it’s safe to move about the neighborhood.”

Jones added that she was “feeling awkward, scared.”

“I don’t want to leave my house. I’m thinking, do I want to go back to the store? Is this going to start happening more frequently? I don’t know what the cause of it is. I’m confused. It’s a lot of different feelings going on right now,” she said Saturday afternoon.

The shooting happened five years to the day when a gunman opened fire during a video game tournament in Jacksonville, killing two people before fatally shooting himself.

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