A former Dollar Tree employee in Jacksonville became the prime suspect in a tragic shooting at a Dollar General store, where he killed three individuals. Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters informed the public during a news conference that the shooter had been employed at a Dollar Tree between October 2021 and July 2022. Prior to the incident at Dollar General, the man had briefly visited a Family Dollar store and then was spotted at Edward Waters University’s parking lot, gearing up in tactical attire. He left the university premises when security personnel approached him.
Sheriff Waters suggested a link between his past employment, the Family Dollar visit, and the final attack at Dollar General, although the motive for selecting the Dollar General remains unclear. A 911 audio recording revealed the shooter’s father indicating his son had ceased taking psychiatric drugs, became isolated after leaving college, and lost his job. The 21-year-old had previous police records from his teenage years, including a suicide threat resulting in a psychiatric assessment.
Video footage from the Family Dollar captured the shooter entering and departing shortly after with a small purchase. However, when a security guard arrived at the scene, the shooter quickly vacated the premises. Waters posited that the shooter possibly intended to act at the Family Dollar but changed plans due to the security presence.
Subsequently, the shooter went to a Dollar General store in the primarily Black New Town neighborhood. Here, he fatally shot Angela Michelle Carr, 52, in her vehicle; store worker A.J. Laguerre, 19, while he attempted to escape; and shopper Jerrald Gallion, 29, upon his entry into the store. After these killings, the shooter took his own life.
Edward Waters University’s president, Zachary Faison Jr., commented that an alert security officer, acting on students’ observations, probably prevented a potential hate crime at the historically Black university. The security’s approach prompted the shooter to hastily leave, narrowly missing a collision with a brick column in the process.
Nevertheless, Sheriff Waters expressed doubts about the university being the planned venue for the shooter’s violent spree, highlighting that two African American men were nearby in the university’s parking area.
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