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, who committed suicide after walking into the Dollar General and shooting three innocent people, killed 52-year-old Angela Michelle Carr, who worked as an Uber driver; she was shot while idling inside her car outside of Dollar General. After killing Carr, the gunman went inside and fatally shot a 19-year-old store employee, A.J Laguerre, and then a man – Jerrald Gallion, 29 – who entered the store with his girlfriend. The three Black people who were killed in Jacksonville were beloved by their community.
At Carr’s funeral service, civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton took the podium to call 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 expressed. “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 Mayor of Jacksonville, Donna Deegan, attended the heartfelt service; additionally, Jacksonville authorities provided security for the funerals considering the crime’s circumstances.
Deegan also attended Carr’s service at The Bethel Church.
Gallion’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday. His family praised him to news outlets, calling him a loving father who worked three jobs to care for his young daughter, Je Asia Gallion.
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Source: Black Enterprise