Was Lax Security at Dollar General Responsible for Fatal Florida Shooting?

Victims’ families file suit against company, accusing retailer of negligence
Marian Zboraj
Digital Editor
Marian Zboraj
Dollar General
Three people were fatally shot at a Florida Dollar General in August.

According to media reports, the family members of three Black people fatally shot at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Fla., by a racist gunman in August have sued the store’s landlord, operator and security contractor for negligence, claiming that lax security led to their loved ones’ deaths.

Twenty-one-year-old Ryan Palmeter previously attempted to enter another store and the campus of a historically Black college, but he was stopped by the presence of security guards at both places. He then went on an 11-minute shooting rampage at the Dollar General store in the New Town section of Jacksonville while wearing a tactical vest and armed with a Glock handgun and an AR-15-style weapon that was marked with a swastika.

Filed in Florida’s Duval County Circuit Court, the wrongful-death lawsuit accuses the retailer of failing to take measures to keep customers and employees safe.

“While Palmeter was deterred from harming the public at his two preceding stops, at this Dollar General, there was nothing in place to again deter Palmeter from attacking and killing innocent persons,” the families’ lawsuit said.

According to the lawsuit, better security measures should have been put in place by the store operator and landlord before the shooting, since the area around the store had seen a rash of shootings, assaults, burglaries, robberies and drug dealing. The suit alleges that Dollar General was even warned "through its agents and/or employees," prior to the shooting, of the "numerous criminal acts” that occurred on or around the store premises and throughout the area.

Because the retailer allegedly failed to employ proper security, the suit accuses Dollar General of "creating conditions that rendered the store an attractive location for criminal activity."

At press time, Dollar General hadn’t responded to Progressive Grocer’s request for comment. 

[Read more: "Dollar General Pays Hefty Settlement in Wisconsin Over Pricing Discrepancies"]

Killed in the August attack at a Dollar General on Kings Road in Jacksonville were 29-year-old Jerrald De'Shaun Gallion, 52-year-old Angela Michelle Carr and 19-year-old Anolt Joseph "AJ" Laguerre Jr., who worked at the store as a clerk.

The families of the victims also named Palmeter’s estate and his parents as defendants in the lawsuit, accusing the parents of failing to protect the public from "reasonably foreseeable criminal acts which were likely to be committed by their son," who lived with them. 

Palmeter killed himself at the scene of the attack, leaving behind racist writings and a suicide note. 

As of Aug. 4, Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based Dollar General operated 19,488 Dollar General, DG Market, DGX and pOpshelf stores across the United States, and Mi Súper Dollar General stores in Mexico. The company is No. 16 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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