Funeral Services Begin For 3 Black Jacksonville Race Shooting Victims
On Friday, September 8, funeral services began for the three Black people killed in the racially motivated shooting at a Jacksonville Dollar General, as reported by the Associated Press.
At the funerals, friends, family, and community members shared memories of the victims, called for reform in gun violence laws, and spoke out against the rise of hate crimes.
The racist gunman committed suicide afterward. First, he killed 52-year-old Angela Michelle Carr, an Uber driver, who in her car outside of Dollar General. He then went inside and fatally shot 19-year-old store employee, A.J Laguerre and Jerrald Gallion, 29, who had entered the store with his girlfriend.
At Carr’s funeral service, civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton called attention to the lax gun laws that allowed the shooter to purchase assault-style rifles after having a history of mental health issues.
According to the Jacksonville Sheriff, the shooter, Ryan Palameter, specifically targeted the victims because they were Black. Racist rhetoric was later found scrawled in Palameter’s diary.
“How many people have to die before you get up—whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat—and say, ‘We’ve got to stop this, and we’ve got to bring some sanity back in this country?’” Sharpton said. “Have we gotten so out of bounds that we’ve normalized this stuff happening?”
Reverend David Green St. said, “We gather together as a hurting community because this was not just an attack on the Carr family and our other two families who lost their loved ones. This was an attack on our entire community.”
He continued, “Rhetoric and other policies and governors have made it comfortable for people to come out of the closet with their hatred of those of us whose skin has been kissed by nature’s sun.”
The memorial service for 19-year-old Laguerre was also on Friday at a different church in Jacksonville. Laguerre, who graduated high school the previous year, got a job at the Dollar General to financially support his grandmother and four siblings.
The Mayor of Jacksonville, Donna Deegan, attended the service; additionally, Jacksonville authorities provided security for the funerals. Deegan also attended Carr’s service at The Bethel Church.
Gallion’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday. His family called him a loving father, who worked three jobs to care for his young daughter, Je Asia Gallion.