JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 21-year-old Clay County man was identified as the shooter who went into a Dollar General Saturday and senselessly took the lives of three people in the New Town neighborhood, Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said at a news conference.
The sheriff broke down an extensive timeline of the racially-motivated attack from when Ryan Palmeter put on his tactical gear at Edward Waters University to when he ended his life with a gunshot.
In April, Palmeter made his first purchase of a Glock 20 at Orange Park Gun and Pawn. Palmeter, then, made another purchase for an AR-15 type rifle at Wild West Guns & Gold in June, the sheriff said.
On Saturday, Palmeter was spotted pulling up behind the library at EWU in a gray Honda Element at 12: 48 p.m. to prepare for the attack by putting on his tactical gear such as a mask, ballistic vest and gloves, Waters said.
Waters believes the shooter’s only intention on EWU’s campus was to change his clothes because “he had an opportunity to do violence” since there were people in “close proximity” and did not do anything.
EWU security backs into a parking spot in the same parking lot that the shooter was in. Just before 1 p.m., Palmeter, according to Waters, drives off toward Kings Road, prompting security to follow him.
EWU was put on lockdown for several hours and students were told to remain in their residence halls for safety. The university says no students or staff were involved in the shooting.
Security flags down a Jacksonville Sheriff Officer to tell them there was a suspicious man wearing a grey tank top, black shorts, and bulletproof vest and blue latex gloves on campus.
The officer was processing a be-on-the-lookout (bolo) alert for Palmeter when shots started to ring out.
JSO’s ShotSpotter system alerted police that 11 rounds were fired near Kings Road around 1:08 p.m.
Palmeter is caught on surveillance camera shooting into a black Kia that was parked in front of the store and killed 52-year-old Angela Carr, who was sitting inside the vehicle. The sheriff said the 11 rounds were the shots that he fired into Carr’s vehicle.
Palmeter then heads into the store, according to Waters, and fatally shoots 19-year-old store employee Anolt Joseph (AJ) Laguerre Jr. Other customers who were also shopping at the time run toward the rear door with Palmeter leaving through the same door.
At 1:09 p.m., the ShotSpotter alert system detects one round going off. One minute later, Palmeter goes back into the store and unsuccessfully tries to shoot out a security camera and the first 911 call is reported to authorities, Waters said.
Jerrald Gallion, 29, walks into the store with his girlfriend around 1:10 p.m. and Palmeter fatally shoots him before chasing another witness around the store while shooting at her until she leaves through the rear door, Waters said.
The woman was not hit. Palmeter continued to shoot out the rear door and the ShotSpotter was initiated again, around 1:13 p.m.
According to Waters, Palmeter retreats back into the store and heads toward the office. He texts his father, “Use a screwdriver to get into my room.”
The father finds a last will and testament and a suicide note on Palmeter’s laptop. It was revealed Saturday that Palmeter wrote three manifestos to his parents, the media and federal agents.
“The manifesto is the diary of a madman. He was completely irrational,” Waters said. “But he knew what he was doing. He was 100% lucid. It’s disappointing that anyone would go to these lengths to hurt someone else.”
At 1:19 p.m. officers entered the store and heard a single gunshot, which Waters said is believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot that killed Palmeter.
SWAT confirmed Palmeter was dead around 3:44 p.m. after securing the area.
Waters said Palmeter did not have any criminal arrest history. However, he was confined through the Baker Act in 2017 and held for 72 hours then released without further involuntary commitment. The sheriff did not share what led to the Baker Act.
Waters also mentioned in Saturday’s news conference that Palmeter was involved in a domestic call with no arrest in 2016.
Dollar General sent News4JAX a statement after learning one of their employees was among the three victims killed:
The DG family mourns the loss of our colleague Anolt Joseph “AJ” Laguerre, Jr., who, along with two of our customers, were the victims of senseless violence yesterday. We extend our deepest sympathies to their families and friends as we all try to comprehend this tragedy.
There is no place for hate at Dollar General or in the communities we serve.
Right now, we are focused on providing support, counseling and resources to our teams and their loved ones, and we are evaluating how we can best support and stand with the greater Jacksonville community during this sad and difficult time.
Watch the entire news conference below: