Following a racially motivated shooting in Jacksonville, Fla., that claimed the lives of three shoppers at a local Dollar General in August, the families of the victims have filed a lawsuit against the company, The Hill
Noted civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump along with co-counsel Haggard have filed the lawsuit against the bargain store and Stephen and Maryann Palmeter, the parents of Ryan Palmeter who committed the heinous crime, are named in the suit. The legal team is seeking damages of more than $50,000 for the families of the victims.
According to the suit, the plaintiffs claim that Dollar General was “negligent” in properly securing the bargain store which allowed the shooter Palmeter to enter the premises and open fire.
Anolt Joseph “AJ” Laguerre Jr., 19; a Dollar General employee, Jerrald Gallion, 29; and Angela Michelle Carr, 52 all died from gunshot wounds. Palmeter later took his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot.
“A criminal’s safe haven, this Dollar General was devoid of meaningful security measures,” the lawsuit states. “While Palmeter was deterred from harming the public at his two preceding stops, at this Dollar General, there was nothing in place to again deter Palmeter from attacking and killing innocent persons.”
The suit goes on to say that Palmeter’s parents were fully aware that their son was battling mental illness, alcoholism, and had an unhealthy “obsession with firearms and violence.” At the time of the shooting, Palmeter was living with his parents and left behind a suicide note at home on Aug. 26.
In 2017, Palmeter was detained for 72 hours in 2017 under the Baker Act, “a mental health legislation that allows the involuntary detainment of an individual for treatment.”
The lawsuit alleges that Palmeter’s parents “failed to take reasonable precautions to provide for the safety of the general public by failing to take action, including but not limited to informing the authorities about the threat posed by Ryan Palmeter, and by allowing him and/or assisting him to retain his firearms, despite the evident danger posed.”
In a news conference after the shooting Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said that the incident was definitely “racially motivated.”
“He hated Black people,” Waters said after reading Palmeter’s writings adding that the gunman acted alone and “there is absolutely no evidence the shooter is part of any larger group.”
Following the mass shooting, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that the attack was being investigated as “a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism.”
“Yesterday in Jacksonville, Florida, three people were killed in a horrific act of hate. In the wake of the mass shooting, FBI and ATF agents responded to the scene and are continuing to work closely with local law enforcement on the ground,” the DOJ’s statement read.
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