Before opening fire at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Florida, the gunman accused of conducting a racially motivated shooting visited a different discount store and a historically Black college.
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office office said in a news conference on Monday that newly obtained security footage showed the shooter making several stops before he chose to unleash terror at a Dollar General store where he shot and killed three Black people.
One of those stops included a visit to the Family Dollar store, located just a mile and a half away from the Dollar General.
The footage released by law enforcement officials shows the gunman, identified as 21-year-old Ryan Palmeter, entering the Family Dollar with a mask over his face, though seemingly unarmed, where he held the door for customers before leaving.
“It looks like he wanted to take action at the Family Dollar, that’s what it looks like, and he did not because I think he got impatient and got tired of waiting,” sheriff TK Waters told reporters.
After that, the suspect went to Edward Waters University, a historically Black school, where he was captured on CCTV cameras putting on tactical gear before being confronted by a campus security guard.
The gunman can be seen swiftly leaving the campus upon seeing the campus police officer. From there, he headed to the Dollar General.
Mr Waters said that based on the footage, he believes the gunman was not interested in engaging with people so he wanted to take the easiest route possible in carrying out the shooting.
Investigators have learned that the gunman worked at a Dollar Tree store from October 2021 until July 2022 in the Oakleaf area.
The newly released CCTV footage lends some insight into the gunman’s possible other targets before entering the discount store armed with an AR-15-style rifle and a Glock handgun.
“Based off what we saw him stopping at a Family Dollar, him working at a Dollar Tree previously and then him going to Dollar General, that was his intent the entire time,” Mr Waters said.
Investigators have not uncovered why the gunman chose these locations, only that he was targeting Black people because he had a white supremacist ideology.
Mr Waters said law enforcement agents were still working to “diligently investigate these horrific crimes” to get a better understanding of why and what happened.
He added: “While this is a dark time in Jacksonville’s history, these senseless acts of violence do not define this great city or the people that live here. This person was not from Jacksonville.”