Three black people have been killed in a “racially motivated” shooting in Jacksonville, Florida.
Two men and one woman were shot dead in a Dollar General store in the city by a man in his early 20s in what the mayor has called a “hate filled crime”.
Jacksonville’s sheriff said that the suspect, an unidentified white man in his 20s, “targeted black people” in the shooting before killing himself.
“Plainly put, this shooting was racially motivated and he hated black people,” Sheriff T K Waters said at a news conference.
Waters said the shooter used a Glock handgun and an AR-15 style rifle emblazoned with swastikas during his killing spree which occurred shortly before 2pm local time.
The shooter reportedly left several manifestos littered with racial epithets detailing his hatred of black people.
Earlier, Mayor Donna Deegan told WJXT “there are a number of fatalities” inside the store but did not give a precise number.
Numerous police officers were in the area near Edward Waters University, a small historically black university.
“This is unacceptable,” Ms Deegan told the station. “One shooting is too much but these mass shootings are really hard to take.”
Jacksonville City Council member Ju’Coby Pittman told the station the shooter is dead. She did not give details.
“My heart is heavy. I am tired of all of the shootings,” she said.
Sherri Onks, special agent in charge of the Jacksonville FBI office, said federal officials had opened a civil rights investigation and would pursue the incident as a hate crime.
“Hate crimes are always and will always remain a top priority for the FBI because they are not only an attack on a victim, they’re also meant to threaten and intimidate an entire community,” Onks said.
Edward Waters University students were being kept in their dorms, the school said in a statement.
No students or faculty are believed involved, the school said.
The shooting happened five years to the day when a gunman opened fire during a video game tournament in Jacksonville, killing two people before fatally shooting himself.