Details Emerge Around Florida Gunman’s Botched Visit To HBCU
More developments have been shared regarding a white Florida gunman’s presence at a local HBCU minutes before opening fire at a Dollar General in what is being treated as a hate crime toward Black people.
Ryan Christopher Palmeter parked at Florida’s oldest HBCU, Edward Waters University, and was spotted by students as he put on gloves and a military vest. After the students notified security, Palmeter was confronted, asked for identification, and drove off. However, a crisis was not averted as the 21-year-old took the lives of three individuals down the road in the predominately Black community.
According to U.S. News, Edward Waters University President A. Zachary Faison Jr. told news outlets about the events on campus. In light of the unfortunate shooting, an increase in campus security is also getting support from Gov. Ron DeSantis, who pledged $1 million to the effort. The controversial governor also has stated that a $100K donation will be allocated to the victims’ families through a charity.
While Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters assured the public that the school was unlikely the target of Palmeter’s deadly action, heightened awareness for the student body’s safety is of high priority to the elected leader.
Despite his condemnation of the gunman’s racially motivated shooting, DeSantis is also making headlines for his opposition to Black history being taught in public schools, a policy mandate by which HBCUs in Florida are affected.
DeSantis was also booed at a prayer vigil for the victims as he spoke at the event. Critics of the governor’s words say that his divisive rhetoric is also partly to blame, fueling the fire for racists to feel empowered to commit egregious acts. While DeSantis remains committed to focusing on security efforts, others call for his accountability for the hate crimes in the Sunshine State.
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