Florida Dollar General Reopens Following Racially Motivated Killing of Three Black Individuals

The Dollar General store in northeast Florida, where three Black individuals lost their lives in a racially motivated shooting last summer, reopened its doors on Friday. The tragic incident occurred on August 26, and the victims, Jerrald Gallion, Anolt “A.J.” Laguerre Jr., and Angela Carr, were memorialized with tributes outside the New Town Dollar General store in Jacksonville. Photos, flowers, and stuffed animals adorned the memorials, expressing the community’s grief.

As part of the reopening, the company installed a permanent plaque at the store’s entrance bearing the hashtag “#JacksonvilleStrong,” according to the Florida Times-Union. Dollar General’s divisional vice president of store operations, Julie Martin, stated that the store underwent upgrades based on feedback from employees and the community. The reopening aimed to be a respectful and considerate process.

The revamped store features a new look developed in consultation with community members and local officials. In response to the community’s needs, the store now offers a broader range of fresh produce, including fruits, vegetables, pre-made salads, frozen vegetables, cold cuts, and milk.

However, the reopening has stirred emotions for the victims’ families, who have experienced their own emotional challenges, noted South Florida attorney Adam Finkel. Finkel represents the victims’ estates and some family members who filed a lawsuit against the company last year, citing lax security at the store. The lawsuit, filed in December, highlighted a history of shootings, assaults, burglaries, robberies, and drug dealing in the store’s neighborhood.

Finkel emphasized the importance of ensuring that the newly opened store adheres to proper safety measures. The lack of security at the store was a contributing factor to the tragedy, and Finkel raised concerns about the adequacy of security measures at the reopened store.

Despite inquiries about security measures, Dollar General’s news release did not address this aspect. However, the company mentioned contributing $2.5 million to various charities and agencies in the Jacksonville area since the shooting.

The August 26 shooting involved 21-year-old Ryan Palmeter, who fatally shot Angela Carr in her vehicle outside the store before entering and shooting Jerrald Gallion and Anolt “A.J.” Laguerre Jr. Palmeter, who had sent racist writings to his family, federal law enforcement, and a media outlet, was discovered to have expressed hatred towards Black people.