Florida Governor DeSantis Booed At Vigil Amidst Mourning For Racist Killings
Florida governor DeSantis booed at vigil amidst mourning for racist killings as hundreds of individuals gathered at prayer vigils and within a church, their emotions a mix of frustration and exhaustion. The occasion marked yet another tragic incident of racial violence in America.
This time, the devastating event unfolded in Florida, where three Black individuals lost their lives at the hands of a 21-year-old white man. Disturbingly, authorities revealed that the perpetrator had left behind writings infused with white supremacist ideology, resembling the erratic musings of a deranged mind.
In the wake of morning services, a poignant evening vigil took place just a block away from the Dollar General store in Jacksonville - the site of the tragic incident. Approximately 200 mourners congregated, seeking solace and unity. It was here that Ryan Palmeter had unleashed his violent attack the day prior, utilizing firearms he had acquired legally. This, despite a troubling history of involuntary commitment for mental health evaluation.
Governor Ron DeSantis, a member of the Republican Party and a contender for the GOP presidential nomination, addressed the grieving assembly. Known for his advocacy of relaxed gun regulations within Florida and his contentious stance against what he terms "wokeness," DeSantis faced a vocal chorus of boos from the crowd, underscoring the palpable tension between his political positions and the sentiments of civil rights advocates.
Amidst the gathering, Ju’Coby Pittman, a city councilwoman from Jacksonville entrusted with representing the very neighborhood in which the tragic shooting occurred, stepped forward. With a determined yet respectful demeanor, she implored the assembled crowd to lend their ears.
COPYRIGHT_BP: Published on https://bingepost.com/florida-governor-desantis-booed-at-vigil-amidst-mourning-for-racist-killings/ by Hilda Workman on 2023-08-29T04:56:15.326Z
"It ain’t about parties today," she said. "A bullet don’t know a party."
DeSantis announced that come Monday, the state would unveil a financial aid package intended to bolster security measures at Edward Waters University, a historically black college situated in close proximity to the location of the shooting. Additionally, this support aims to extend assistance to the families directly impacted by the tragedy. In condemning the shooter, DeSantis spared no words, labeling him a "major league scumbag."
"What he did is totally unacceptable in the state of Florida," DeSantis said. "We are not going to let people be targeted based on their race."
Sheriff T.K. Waters provided the somber identification of the victims claimed by the tragedy. Among them was Angela Michelle Carr, aged 52, who tragically lost her life while seated in her car.
A.J. Laguerre, a 19-year-old employee of the store, met a tragic end as he attempted to escape the assailant's violence. Additionally, Jerrald Gallion, aged 29 and a customer at the store located within a predominantly Black neighborhood, fell victim to the shooter as he entered the establishment.
Bishop John Guns, addressing the gathered crowd, shared that Jerrald Gallion was a member of the St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Jacksonville. Sadly, Gallion's passing marked the 33rd instance of murder that Bishop Guns has witnessed during his 27-year tenure at the church.
In two weeks I have to preach a funeral of a man who should still be alive. He was not a gangster, he was not a thug - he was a father who gave his life to Jesus and was trying to get it together. I wept in church today like a baby because my heart is tired. We are exhausted.- Bishop John Guns
The latest tragic incident in the ongoing history of racially motivated violence in America unfolded during the early afternoon hours of Saturday. It commenced with Palmeter's initial parking at Edward Waters University.
As described by the sheriff, a video uploaded to TikTok, lacking a specific timestamp, depicted Palmeter equipping himself with a bullet-resistant vest. This action caught the attention of a university security guard, who proceeded to position their vehicle nearby.
However, Palmeter swiftly departed the scene, prompting the security guard to signal a Jacksonville sheriff's officer. The officer was just about to issue an alert to fellow law enforcement personnel when the shooting spree commenced at the store.
In carrying out the violent act, Palmeter utilized both an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and a Glock handgun, as detailed by Sheriff Waters. It is unsettling to note that he had legally acquired these firearms in the months leading up to the tragedy, despite a history of being involuntarily committed for mental health evaluation in 2017. Regrettably, due to his release following the examination, this pertinent information did not surface during his background checks.
Approximately 11 minutes following the commencement of the shooting spree, Palmeter tragically ended his own life as law enforcement personnel arrived at the scene. Residing in the adjacent Clay County, Palmeter shared a household with his parents. During the course of the shooting incident, he managed to send a text message to his father, urging him to enter his room.
Subsequently, his father discovered a distressing suicide note along with a will. Furthermore, the father stumbled upon a collection of racist writings that Sheriff Waters characterized as "frankly speaking, the ramblings of a deranged individual."
"He was just completely irrational," Waters said. "But with irrational thoughts, he knew what he was doing. He was 100% lucid."
According to the sheriff's account, Palmeter, concealing his vest beneath a shirt along with gloves and a mask, initiated the sequence of events. His initial actions involved halting in front of Carr's vehicle, where he proceeded to discharge 11 rounds from his rifle through the windshield. This tragic act claimed her life.
Upon entering the store, Palmeter veered to his right and targeted Laguerre, an act captured on video footage. As recounted by the sheriff, a number of individuals managed to escape through the store's rear exit, evading the danger. In pursuit, Palmeter followed them and discharged shots, which regrettably did not find their mark. Subsequently, he re-entered the store and encountered Gallion and his girlfriend entering through the front entrance. Tragically, Gallion fell victim to Palmeter's gunfire.
Continuing his unsettling rampage, Palmeter pursued a woman through the store, unleashing a volley of shots that, fortunately, failed to find their intended target.
We must say clearly and forcefully that white supremacy has no place in America. We must refuse to live in a country where Black families going to the store or Black students going to school live in fear of being gunned down because of the color of their skin.- President Joe Biden
In the aftermath of Saturday's tragic shooting, President Biden engaged in conversations with Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan and Sheriff Waters. During these discussions, he extended his unwavering support to the Jacksonville community. The White House issued a statement on Sunday evening confirming the president's commitment.
Preceding this, the pastor of St. Paul AME Church, located in close proximity to the incident's location, addressed the congregation. He emphasized the importance of drawing inspiration from the example set by Jesus Christ, urging congregants to prevent their grief from morphing into anger.
Mayor Deegan wept during the service. "Our hearts are broken," the Rev. Willie Barnes told about 100 congregants. "If any of you are like me, I’m fighting trying to not be angry."
Elected representatives asserted that racially motivated attacks, such as the one witnessed on Saturday, have been fueled by political rhetoric that criticizes "wokeness" and by policies enacted by the Republican-led state government under DeSantis. Among these policies is one that directly impacts the teaching of Black history in Florida.
We must be clear, it was not just racially motivated, it was racist violence that has been perpetuated by rhetoric and policies designed to attack Black people, period. We cannot sit idly by as our history is being erased, as our lives are being devalued, as wokeness is being attacked. Because let’s be clear - that is red meat to a base of voters.- Rep. Angie Nixon, a Jacksonville Democrat.
Rudolph McKissick, a Baptist bishop, national board member of Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, and senior pastor of Jacksonville's Bethel Church found himself in the city on Saturday as the tragic shooting unfolded in the historically Black New Town neighborhood.
"Nobody is having honest, candid conversations about the presence of racism," McKissick said.
Prior instances of shootings targeting Black Americans include the tragic events at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket in 2022, and the historic African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.
The Buffalo shooting, resulting in the loss of 10 lives, stands out as one of the most deadly deliberate attacks on Black individuals by a lone white assailant in U.S. history. The perpetrator received a life sentence in prison, devoid of the possibility of parole.