Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is seeking a Republican nomination for the 2024 US presidential election, was loudly booed as he addressed a vigil held for the three victims of a racially-motivated attack in the city of Jacksonville, media reports said on Tuesday.
About 200 people gathered at the vigil on Sunday evening which was held just a block from the Dollar General store in Jacksonville where the 21-year-old gunman Ryan Palmeter opened fire on August 26 using guns he bought legally despite a past involuntary commitment for a mental health exam, reports CBS News.
The victims were identified as 52-year-old Angela Michelle Carr, 19-year-old Anolt Joseph Laguerre Jr., and 29-year-old Jerrald De’Shawn Gallion.
Palmeter, who left behind white supremacist manifestos that read like "the diary of a madman", shot himself dead after the incident.
As the mourner booed the Governor, who has loosened gun laws in Florida, was forced to step back from the microphone before Ju'Coby Pittman, a Jacksonville city councilwoman who represents the neighborhood where the shooting happened, stepped in to ask the crowd to listen.
"It ain't about parties today... A bullet don't know a party," she said.
Continuing his address, DeSantis said the state would be announcing financial support 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 scumbag".
"What he did is totally unacceptable in the state of Florida," CBS News quoted DeSantis as saying.
"We are not going to let people be targeted based on their race."
Bishop John Guns, referring to Gallion, told the crowd: "In two weeks I have to preach a funeral of a man who should still be alive.
"I wept in church today like a baby because my heart is tired. We are exhausted."
Gallion was the 33rd murder victim in the 27 years that Bishop Guns has been at the St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church.
The shooting fell on the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington for civil rights, where Dr Martin Luther King Jr gave his famous "I have a dream" speech, the BBC reported.
President Joe Biden, during remarks on the anniversary on Monday, called the shooting an "act of domestic violence extremism".
"Domestic terrorism rooted in white supremacy is the greatest terrorist threat we face in the homeland," he said.
The President also renewed calls for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.