At a news conference early on Saturday evening, Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters declared, "This shooting was racially motivated and he hated Black people."
Two men and a lady, all three victims, were Black.
Waters claimed that the shooter's parents resided in Clay County, Florida, south of Jacksonville. About 35 miles south of the Georgia border, in northeast Florida, is the city of Jacksonville.
However, according to Waters, the shooter had already begun the attack in the Dollar General when officials were informed about the manifestos.
Blocks away from Edward Waters University, a historically Black institution where students living on campus were instructed to remain in their residence halls, the shooting began shortly after 1 p.m. ET. Before going to the Dollar General, the shooter, according to Waters, was spotted on the school's campus. On the campus, no one was hurt.
The shooter was turned away from the campus of Edward Waters University, according to university officials, when he refused to identify himself.
"The person departed campus without incident and went back to their car. EWU security reported the interaction to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, according to a university press statement.
After the attack, the gunman barricaded himself inside the store, according to Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan. If the victims were shot inside the business or outside, it was not immediately obvious.
During a press conference, Waters displayed photographs of the firearms, revealing that swastikas had been painted in white on one of the weapons.
The event will be investigated as a hate crime, according to Sherri Onks, special agent in charge of the FBI's Jacksonville office. "We have opened a federal civil rights investigation," she added.
Although they have spoken to the suspect's parents, the authorities have not yet formally identified him, according to Waters.
The Baker Act, which permits involuntary detention and evaluation for up to 72 hours when a mental health crisis occurs, was the topic of a 2017 law enforcement contact regarding the shooter.
Waters omitted to elaborate on the circumstances that gave rise to that case's Baker Act call. He claimed that ordinarily, a person who has been held under the Baker Act is ineligible to buy a gun.
Authorities said it didn't seem like the shooter knew the victims.
According to Deegan, the shooter may have timed his attack to coincide with the anniversary of a mass shooting that took place at a gaming convention in Jacksonville exactly five years prior because the writer's writings showed him to be aware of the incident. Two people were murdered in that shooting.
These writings will eventually be made public, according to the sheriff. "I'm a big believer in transparency," he declared.
On Saturday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and branded the shooter a "scumbag" while denouncing the killing.
He selected his victims based on their race. That must stop immediately. This person took the coward's way out and murdered himself rather than face the music and take responsibility for his crimes. But we strongly condemn what happened," DeSantis stated, according to a video statement the governor's office released to CNN.
In a message on X, the website that replaced Twitter, Florida State Sen. Tracie Davis, whose district includes Jacksonville, termed the shooting a "tragic day" for the city.
I'm sending thoughts to the victims' families and am en route to meet with (Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters) to get clarification, Davis wrote in a Facebook on Saturday.
"This type of violence is unacceptable in our communities," Davis continued.