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Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis thought his presence would be welcomed in the midst of mourners grieving the loss of Black life. He was wrong.

Hundreds of people gathered Sunday at prayer vigils and in church, in frustration and exhaustion, to mourn yet another racially-motivated attack in America — this one the killing of three Black people in Florida by a White, 21-year-old man who authorities say left behind white supremacist ramblings that read like “the diary of a madman.” 

CBS News reports following services earlier in the day, about 200 people showed up at a Sunday evening vigil a block from the Dollar General store in Jacksonville where officials said Ryan Palmeter opened fire Saturday using guns he bought legally despite a past involuntary commitment for a mental health exam. 

DeSantis, who is running for the GOP nomination for president and has loosened gun laws in Florida and antagonized civil rights leaders by deriding “wokeness” — was loudly booed as he addressed the vigil.

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Ju’Coby Pittman, a Jacksonville city councilwoman who represents the neighborhood where the shooting happened and who CBS Jacksonville affiliate WJAX-TV reports organized the vigil — stepped in to ask the crowd to listen. 

“It ain’t about parties today,” she said. “A bullet don’t know a party.” 

DeSantis said the state would be announcing financial support Monday for security at Edward Waters University, the historically black college near where the shooting occurred, and to help the affected families. He called the gunman a “major league s—bag.”

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After his recent years of propagating racist ideology only matched by policies that restrict Black advancement in the state of Florida, the people of Jacksonville let him hear their discontent loud and clear.

Some people in the crowd yelled, “He was a racist!” referring to the shooter, WJAX says. Others applauded the governor’s comments.

After continuously targeting Black Americans in rhetoric and policy as Governor, DeSantis audaciously stood before a mass of melanin, stating, “What he did is totally unacceptable in the state of Florida. We are not going to let people be targeted based on their race.”

Sheriff T.K. Waters identified those killed as Angela Michelle Carr, 52, who was shot in her car; store employee A.J. Laguerre, 19, who was shot as he tried to flee; and customer Jerrald Gallion, 29, who was shot as he entered the store in a predominantly Black neighborhood. 

Ron DeSantis continues to lag behind in presidential campaign

Though DeSantis continues to run the culture wars playbook authenticated by the 45th President, his campaign poll numbers can’t mimic the popularity of a man whose mugshot is now perhaps the infamous in American history.

Donald Trump leads DeSantis by nearly 40 percentage points in the race for the Republican presidential nomination even after declining to debate the Florida governor and other rivals, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll that closed on Friday.

DeSantis remains stuck in distant second place with 13% of support of Republican respondents while Trump, the former president, had 52%, marginally higher than the 47% he received in a Reuters/Ipsos poll in early August.

Hailing from Charlotte North Carolina, born litterateur Ezekiel J. Walker earned a B.A. in Psychology at Winston Salem State University. Walker later published his first creative nonfiction book and has...

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