JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Action News Jax has confirmed with sources and neighbors the identity of the suspect who took the lives of three Black residents at a Newtown Dollar General in a racially motivated mass shooting Saturday afternoon, as 21-year-old Oakleaf resident Ryan Palmeter.
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has not yet officially identified the suspect.
Clay County Sheriff’s deputies and JSO officers were present outside Palmeter’s home throughout the day and into the evening.
Jacksonville Sheriff TK Waters said the shooter’s parents had called Clay County Sheriff’s Office earlier in the day, reporting their son had left behind a manifesto.
“By that time he had already begun shooting in Jacksonville,” said Waters.
Sheriff Waters said the shooter’s victims were all Black.
Waters added his multiple manifestos and the swastikas drawn on his AR-15-style rifle made it undeniably clear; that his rampage was racially motivated.
“This shooting was racially motivated and he hated Black people,” said Waters.
According to Mayor Donna Deegan, the shooter made it clear in his manifestos, that he was aware Saturday marked the fifth anniversary of the Landing shooting.
Waters also noted the shooter had previously been Baker Acted in 2017 and was involved in a domestic call in 2016.
However, Waters said the shooter had no history of arrest and it was unclear whether he obtained the firearms legally.
“I can’t say that he owned them, but his parents didn’t. His parents didn’t want them in the house,” said Waters.
Neighbor Patty Grisby wasn’t familiar with Palmeter, but was shocked when she found out he lived just a few doors down.
Her children often play around the neighborhood.
“I mean they ride their bikes. They play outside. I mean, it’s just really scary. I mean I really have goosebumps just thinking about… It’s right here in our neighborhood. A quiet little street,” said Grisby.
Sabina Escalada lives across the street from Palmeter’s home.
“Just on the outside, he seemed like the typical teenager, you know like, didn’t seem very happy sometimes. Or just wanted to keep to himself,” said Escalada.
She said she didn’t know Palmeter well, but said she had a good relationship with his parents.
“It’s hard thinking about your own child doing something like that and you feel for the family,” said Escalada.
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