The Phoenix Flyer

DeSantis was off the campaign trail Sunday; he spoke again about the hate-crime killings in Jacksonville

By: - August 27, 2023 7:33 pm

Gov. Ron DeSantis, Aug. 27, 2023. Credit: Florida Channel.

At a Tallahassee news conference Sunday focused on upcoming storms, Gov. Ron DeSantis was off the presidential campaign trail — which is unusual — and spoke again about the hate-crime killings of three Black people in Jacksonville on Saturday.

President Joe Biden, Congress members, state lawmakers, the NAACP and other advocates responded to the murders at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, where a young white man armed with an AR-15-style rifle and a handgun killed two Black males and a Black female on Saturday. The shooter killed himself.

DeSantis said in his remarks Sunday:

“Florida, the state and its people condemn the horrific racially motivated murders perpetrated by a deranged scumbag in Jacksonville at the Dollar General store.

Perpetrating violence of this kind is unacceptable, and targeting people due to their race has no place in the state of Florida.

Casey (First Lady Casey DeSantis) and I extend condolences to the victims of their families on behalf of the entire state of Florida.”

DeSantis said he spoke to Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan, Sheriff T.K. Waters and A. Zachary Faison, Jr., president of Edward Waters University, a historical Black college in Jacksonville.

DeSantis said he would work with the university president to ensure the college has adequate security.

“We’re not going to allow in the state of Florida our HBCUs to be targets for hateful lunatics like the guy yesterday,” DeSantis said.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reported the names of the three Black people who were killed on Saturday, as well as the name of the shooter. The names are: Angela Michelle Carr, 52; Anolt Joseph Laguerre Jr., known as A.J., 29; and Jerrald De’Shaun Gallion, 19. The gunman was Ryan Christopher Palmeter, a white 21-year-old from neighboring Clay County, according to The New York Times.

The governor’s Sunday schedule also includes a 5:30 p.m., described as a prayer vigil in Jacksonville.

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Diane Rado
Diane Rado

Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.