The Miami Heat issued a statement condemning racism Tuesday in the wake of a shooting in Jacksonville over the weekend, which authorities say was a racially motivated hate crime.
On Saturday, a white gunman opened fire inside a Dollar General, killing three Black people: Anolt "AJ" Laguerre Jr., 19; Jerrald De'Shaun Gallion, 29; and Angela Michelle Carr, 52.
"Three Black victims were murdered at the hands of a racist gunman in Jacksonville over the weekend," the Heat's statement said. "As part of a league in which 73 percent of our players are Black, we are angry and disgusted by the senseless and hate-filled motives of such a violent and horrific act. Fight racism."
Jacksonville is located about 340 miles away from the Heat's Kaseya Center in downtown Miami. It’s just south of Georgia’s border with nearly a million residents, and about a third of them are Black. The Dollar General where the shooting occurred is near Edward Waters University, a historically Black school with about 1,000 students.
On Sunday, hundreds of Florida residents gathered in crowds at prayer vigils and church services to mourn the victims. The shooting is being investigated as a hate crime and "an act of racially motivated violent extremism,” the Department of Justice announced.
The Heat have been vocal about other social justice issues in the past.