A gunman driven by racial hate shot and killed three Black people in Jacksonville, Florida before fatally turning the gun on himself, authorities said.
The gunman left behind manifestos before he opened fire at the variety store on Saturday, local time, and barricaded himself inside, sparking a stand-off with police.
At least three victims died — two men and a woman — along with the gunman, who was white and aged in his early 20s.
“He targeted a certain group of people and that’s Black people. That’s what he said he wanted to kill. And that’s very clear,” Jacksonville Sheriff TK Waters said of the gunman.
“This shooting was racially motivated and he hated Black people,” the sheriff added.
Manifestos left by the gunman “detail the shooter’s disgusting ideology of hate”, he said.
The FBI said the incident would be investigated as a hate crime.
The shooter’s parents reached out to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office after discovering the manifesto, according to local broadcaster WJTX.
Mayor Donna Deegan, who was on the scene, confirmed earlier that there were “a number of fatalities” following the shooting at a store called Dollar General, the New York Post reported. She told broadcaster News4Jax a man had barricaded himself inside the store.
City council member Ju’Coby Pittman told news outlets the shooter was dead.
“My heart is heavy. I am tired of all of the shootings,” she said.
Prior to the shooting, a man believed to be the gunman had been spotted on the nearby campus of Edward Waters University (EWU), a small historically Black university. The man was seen putting on a ballistics vest behind the school’s library, WJXT reported.
Campus security was called and unsuccessfully attempted to catch the man.
Action News Jax cited sources that said the gunman was wearing a tactical vest, mask and gloves.
EWU students were being kept in their residence halls until the scene was cleared. No students or faculty were believed to be involved in the shooting, university officials said.
A witness told News4Jax the shooter fired at some cars.
SWAT team members were reportedly seen earlier in the day outside of the Dollar General engaging in a potential standoff with an armed suspect.
Crews from the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office were also on the scene.
“This is unacceptable,” Ms Deegan, the mayor, said. “One shooting is too much but these mass shootings are really hard to take.”
Saturday’s shooting occurred five years to the day when a gunman killed two people and injured 11 others at a video game tournament in Jacksonville before turning the gun on himself.
It also comes amid a spate of recent shootings in the US.
Earlier in the day at least seven people were hospitalised after a mass shooting at a Caribbean festival in the northeast city of Boston.
Meanwhile, two women were shot at a baseball game in Chicago the night before, authorities in the Midwestern city said.
And a 16-year-old was shot dead and four others injured after an argument erupted at a high school football game in Oklahoma, local police said.
Mass shootings have become disturbingly common across the US, with easy access to firearms in most states and more guns in the country than citizens, AFP reports.
A version of this article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission