Gunman who killed three black people in racist attack in Florida named as Ryan Christopher Palmeter

Killer ‘took the coward’s way out’

Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate, who has faced criticism for easing gun laws in Florida, slammed the shooting.

“This was racially motivated,” Mr DeSantis said. “He was targeting people based on their race. That is totally unacceptable. 

“This guy killed himself rather than face the music and accept responsibility for his actions. And so, he took the coward’s way out.”

The FBI said it had opened a civil rights investigation and was investigating the shootings as a hate crime.

President Joe Biden also condemned the shootings. 

“We must say clearly and forcefully that white supremacy has no place in America,” he said. 

“We must refuse to live in a country where Black families going to the store or Black students going to school live in fear of being gunned down because of the colour of their skin.

“Hate must have no safe harbour. Silence is complicity and we must not remain silent.”

A local pastor pleaded with the local community not to allow their grief to turn into range when he addressed his congregation at St. Paul AME Church, which is located about three miles from the crime scene.

“Our hearts are broken,” the Rev. Willie Barnes told 100 congregants on Sunday morning. “If any of you are like me, I’m fighting trying not to be angry.”

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