Ryan Palmeter, 21, killed three people before turning the gun on himself
The families of three Black people who were killed during a racially motivated rampage at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Fla., have filed a lawsuit against the store’s landlord, operator and security contractor as well as the parents of the shooter.
The lawsuit, which was filed on Monday, alleges that negligence and a failure to provide adequate security for the store allowed 21-year-old Ryan Palmeter to open fire on 19-year-old store employee Anolt Laguerre Jr., as well as customer Jerrald Gallion, 29 and rideshare driver Angela Carr, 52.
“What we know about the facts of this case is had they had security, something as simple as a security guard, this never occurs,” Michael Haggard, an attorney for the families, tells PEOPLE. “We know from the evidence in this case that he absolutely was deterred not once, but twice within the hour before of this shooting.”
Palmeter killed himself after the shooting, CNN reported. Palmeter, the lawsuit states, “embarked on a mission motivated by hate” on Aug. 26, 2023.
According to the lawsuit, Palmeter, 21, targeted a Family Dollar store first but was “deterred by the presence of a uniformed security guard” before he “shifted his plan” and made his way to Edward Waters University, a historically Black university, where he was “once again deterred by the presence of security personnel.”
He then drove to the Dollar General, where he killed Carr first and then Laguerre and Gallion, the lawsuit claims.
“A criminal’s safe haven, this Dollar General was devoid of meaningful security measures,” the lawsuit alleges. “While Palmeter was deterred from harming the public at his two preceding stops, and this Dollar General, there was nothing in place to again deter Palmeter from attacking and killing innocent persons.”
According to the lawsuit, Palmeter was armed with a Glock handgun and an AR-15 marked with swastikas.
After the shooting, law enforcement found several manifestos that “detailed the shooter’s disgusting ideology of hate,” Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said in a press conference after the shooting, the Florida Times-Union reported.
“Plainly put, this shooting was racially motivated, and he hated Black people,” Waters said.
The lawsuit alleges that the store was “in a high crime area” and “criminal acts were reasonably likely to be perpetrated on employees and/or invitees unless defendant took appropriate measures to provide reasonable security for such individuals.”
According to the lawsuit, there was a burglary the day before the shooting.
Haggard says Gallion, who worked at a fast-food restaurant, was in the store shopping for his 4-year-old daughter when he was killed. Carr, says Haggard, had just dropped off a fare when she was shot in her car. Laguerre was behind the counter when he was shot.
“He’s just a sitting duck in there,” says Haggard.
The lawsuit also claims that Palmeter’s parents Stephen and Maryann Palmeter, who he lived with, knew that Palmeter “struggled with mental health issues” and “owed a duty of care to the general public to reasonably supervise Ryan Palmeter and to take precautions as were reasonably necessary to protect the general public, including [victim], from reasonably foreseeable criminal acts which were likely to be committed…”
According to the lawsuit, Palmeter’s room was “adorned a sign to ‘Join the Revolution.’”
“Ryan Palmeter’s room even contained artwork that glorified death, such as a picture of a deceased child on a road with a smiling teenage male in the foreground,” it added.
The Dollar General and the other defendants didn’t return a call for comment.
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