The families of three Black individuals tragically killed during a racially motivated attack at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Florida, have initiated a lawsuit against the store’s landlord, operator, security contractor, and the shooter’s parents.
Filed on Monday, the lawsuit alleges negligence and insufficient security measures, holding the defendants responsible for the tragic deaths of 19-year-old store employee Anolt Laguerre Jr., customer Jerrald Gallion, 29, and rideshare driver Angela Carr, 52.
According to the families’ attorney, Michael Haggard, the absence of adequate security measures, such as a security guard, played a crucial role in enabling 21-year-old Ryan Palmeter to carry out the shooting, the Florida Times-Union reported.
Haggard emphasizes that evidence indicates Palmeter was deterred from violent actions twice within the hour preceding the incident, underscoring the potential prevention of the tragedy with proper security measures.
The lawsuit outlines Palmeter’s “mission motivated by hate” on August 26, 2023, during which he targeted a Family Dollar store initially but was dissuaded by the presence of a security guard. He then changed his plan, heading to Edward Waters University, where security personnel once again deterred him.
Subsequently, Palmeter proceeded to the Dollar General, where he killed Carr, Laguerre, and Gallion. The legal action contends that Dollar General lacked meaningful security measures, making it a “criminal’s haven.” The lawsuit claims that despite previous deterrents at Palmeter’s other stops, the store failed to implement measures preventing him from attacking and killing innocent individuals, CNN reported.
Palmeter, armed with a Glock handgun and an AR-15 marked with swastikas, took his own life after the shooting. Law enforcement discovered manifestos detailing his hateful ideology. Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters declared the shooting racially motivated, emphasizing Palmeter’s hatred towards Black people.
The lawsuit further argues that the store, situated in a high-crime area, failed to implement reasonable security measures, despite the likelihood of criminal acts. A burglary the day before the shooting is cited as evidence.
The families assert that Palmeter’s parents, Stephen and Maryann Palmeter, were aware of their son’s mental health struggles and had a duty to supervise and take precautions to protect the public. The lawsuit describes Palmeter’s room as adorned with signs promoting a revolution and containing artwork glorifying death.
Dollar General and other defendants have not provided a comment in response to the lawsuit.