The Jacksonville shooter, who tragically ended the lives of three Black individuals at a Dollar General store last Saturday, left behind written materials that divulge disturbing intentions.
Among his potential targets, the shooter identified both Eminem and Machine Gun Kelly, using their real names and stage names interchangeably.
In passages that Rolling Stone magazine has examined, Ryan Christopher Palmeter, the shooter who ultimately took his own life, expressed deeply troubling thoughts. He depicted Eminem (also known as Marshall Mathers or Slim Shady) as straddling the line between embracing racial slurs and being against them. He criticized Eminem’s lyrics and stated that the rapper should be considered a legitimate target for death.
Through his writings, the shooter revealed his sinister motivations and warped beliefs. He harbored hopes of inciting a race-based conflict and idolized other notorious killers, including those responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing, the Norwegian summer camp attack, and the Virginia Tech shooting. The shooter ridiculed extremist group the Boogaloo Boys as mere “larpers,” individuals pretending to spread hate.
Although law enforcement often labels racist mass shooters as “lone wolves,” this shooter’s writings demonstrated how they see themselves as part of a lineage of violence, aiming to inspire the next generation of attackers.
The shooter’s writings also focused on Machine Gun Kelly, suggesting that he might have been close enough to harm the rapper. The shooter expressed regret at not having taken a shot at Machine Gun Kelly in Ohio.
Both Machine Gun Kelly and Eminem declined to comment when contacted by Rolling Stone. The FBI refrained from providing a statement as well.
In his writings, the shooter also mentioned others like Justice Clarence Thomas, commending his principled conservative stance, and even praised Timothy McVeigh, the domestic terrorist responsible for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
FBI Director Christopher Wray referred to the shooter’s writings in a briefing call with law enforcement and community leaders. The contents of the shooter’s writings, along with his actions, revealed his intentions and deep-seated hatred.
The tragic incident unfolded on a Saturday when Palmeter entered a Jacksonville Dollar General store wearing tactical gear and armed with both a handgun and an AR-15 rifle bearing swastika markings. He had previously stopped at a Family Dollar store and had been spotted near the campus of Edward Waters University.
Authorities continue to piece together the events leading up to the massacre. During a briefing call, Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters outlined a detailed timeline. He also revealed that although the shooter had undergone a 72-hour evaluation in 2017, he had not been committed to a mental institution. This lack of commitment allowed him to legally purchase firearms in subsequent years.
FBI Jacksonville’s Special Agent in charge, Sherri Onks, mentioned that the shooter possessed multiple electronic devices with extensive data. The writings indicated his hatred towards African Americans, his belief in their inferiority, as well as anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-Semitic sentiments.
The weapons and body armor used in the attack referenced previous mass shootings, and the shooter had aspirations of inspiring others to carry out similar violent acts.