Gov. DeSantis gives $1 million to bolster security at EWU in wake of ‘racially-motivated’ shooting nearby

Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan, left, greets Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, center and his wife Casey, right, before a prayer vigil for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting Sunday, Aug. 27, 2023, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (John Raoux, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday announced the state is putting an additional $1 million toward increasing security on the campus of Edward Waters University.

The announcement comes following the “racially-motivated” shooting that is being called a hate crime by the FBI at a Dollar General on Kings Road on Saturday.

The shooter, who was carrying an AR-15-style rifle that had swastikas drawn on it, was seen on Edward Waters University’s campus moments before gunfire erupted.

MORE | Hate crime: 3 killed in shooting at Jacksonville store by gunman with swastika-painted PA-15

“We are not going to allow our HBCUs to be targets for hateful scumbags,” DeSantis said. “I’ve directed my administration to use every resource available to ensure the Edward Waters campus is safe following this shooting and to help the impacted families as they mourn their loved ones.”

DeSantis said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was on the campus Monday and evaluating security for infrastructure.

DeSantis also added that the state is putting $100,000 toward a charity supporting the victims of the shooting.

Rep. Angie Nixon (D-Jacksonville), however, was critical of DeSantis following the announcement of the additional funds.

“Let me be perfectly clear: no amount of money can erase the pain caused by years of marginalization and oppression. Our historically Black institutions have faced an uphill battle for decades, and I invite DeSantis to go back through unfilled budget requests and line item vetoes to begin to provide the funding they’ve needed for years. For it to take murder for him to dig in his overflowing coffers for support is appalling,” Nixon wrote in a news release. “The recent Jacksonville shooting, which targeted Black individuals, is a stark reminder of the dangerous consequences of unchecked racism. While DeSantis may feign concern now, his track record speaks louder than his hollow words. We need actions, not publicity stunts. I urge the Governor to do more than make empty gestures and call folks names. It’s time for him to truly reckon with the damage he has caused, to apologize for the harm he has inflicted, and to actively work towards undoing the racist system he’s helped uphold and grow.”

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I-TEAM and general assignment reporter