Rochester man’s nephew killed in racist Jacksonville shooting at Dollar General
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The racist shooting at a Dollar General in Jacksonville, Fla., over the weekend took the life of a Rochester man’s nephew.
Walter Harris grew up in Jacksonville, but now lives in Rochester. He tells News10NBC, his nephew, 19-year old Anolt Joseph “A.J.” Laguerre Jr. was killed during the attack.
The Jacksonville County Sheriff’s Office identified the other two people killed as Angela Michelle Carr, 52, and Jerrald De’Shaun Gallion, 29. Sheriff T.K. Waters said the 21-year old shooter, identified as Ryan Palmeter, was a “maniac” who wanted to kill Black people.
Laguerre was working at the Dollar General on Saturday afternoon when the shooting happened.
“It came across the TV and I said, ‘Ugh, another killing,’” Harris recalls.
But then he got a call from his sister.
“She said ‘Your nephew got killed. He was the one inside of the Dollar General.’ And I’m like, ‘No you’re kidding me.’ I said, ‘No that’s not him.’”
According to investigators, Palmeter fired several shots into a car in the parking lot killing Carr. They say he then entered the store where he shot and killed Laguerre who was trying to escape.
“He was trying to run, to save his life,” Harris said through tears.
Palmeter is then alleged to have shot and killed Gallion as he entered the store before killing himself when police arrived.
Harris is still trying to come to terms with the loss.
“I got up this morning. I just felt weak because I’m still angry. But I’m older now, so that anger, I have to push that aside and just rely on God. But you know, it’s hard, it’s hard,” he says.
A.J. Laguerre was one of five children. He started working at the Dollar General after graduating from high school.
“He was the youngest of all of them, and he was getting ready to go to art school,” his uncle says.
Harris hopes his nephew’s life has not been lost in vain.
“Black and white races and stuff like that — we need to come together man, we all bleed the same,” he says. “We already struggling, and it’s hard as it is, mostly trying to keep your family together, trying to sit there and feed your kids and everything. It’s getting ridiculous now, you can’t even go into a grocery store without worrying that someone is going to shoot you. You can’t even walk up and down the street without someone waving a gun and shooting a gun, you can’t. You can’t even sleep at night without somebody shooting in there, and it’s just not here, it’s everywhere. We got to come together or something like that, because if we don’t come together, we gonna all fall apart.”
Harris says he is heading down to Jacksonville next week for his nephew’s funeral.
A GoFundme has been set up for AJ’s funeral expenses.