DeSantis booed at vigil for victims of racist attack
In Jacksonville, where hundreds gathered to remember the three victims of the attack on Sunday, the Republican candidate for president was heckled.
After a member of the city council asked the crowd to listen, he stepped away from the microphone.
Ju’Coby Pittman said: “It ain’t about parties today.” He added: “A bullet doesn’t know what a party is.”
Some in the crowd applauded as Mr DeSantis, 44, who has loosened gun laws in the state and has been criticized for targeting what he calls “woke ideology”, called the gunman a “scumbag”.
The vigil took place in a predominantly black area just yards away from the Dollar General shop where the shooting occurred the previous day. Around 200 people attended the event.
A 21-year-old man shot eleven shots at 52-year-old Angela Carr, who was sitting in her vehicle, before entering the shop and killing two more people.
As he fled the Dollar General, Anolt Laguerre Jr, 19, was killed.
As Jerrald De’Shaun Gallion, 29, entered the premises, he was shot and killed. A second woman escaped after being chased.
After police arrived, the attacker turned a gun on himself and died. In the shooting, two legally obtained firearms were used: an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and a Glock handgun. According to police, the gunman was motivated by racism.
Sheriff T K Waters told reporters that the suspect was lucid and knew what he was doing. This shooting was racially motivated and he hated black people.
Police said he left racist messages that read like “a madman’s diary”.
During 2017, the gunman was detained for 72 hours under mental health legislation that allows involuntary detention for treatment. It did not appear on his background checks when he purchased the guns because he was released after the examination, police said. According to Mr DeSantis, financial support will be provided to bolster security at the historically black Edward Waters University.
A security officer asked the gunman to identify himself on the university campus. He was asked to leave when he refused. Before leaving, he put on a bullet-resistant vest and a mask.
‘What he did is totally unacceptable in Florida,’ Mr DeSantis said. People will not be targeted based on their race.”
The bishop, referring to Mr Gallion, told the crowd: “In two weeks, I will preach a funeral for a man who should still be alive. I wept in church today. We are exhausted.”
On the 60th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I have a dream’ speech, the shooting occurred.
On Monday, President Biden called the shooting an “act of domestic violence extremism”.
Mr Biden said domestic terrorism rooted in white supremacy was the greatest threat to our homeland.
A ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines was also called for by the president.
Earlier, US Attorney General Merrick Garland said the shooting was being investigated as a hate crime.