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Miami Heat issue statement against racism in wake of Jacksonville shooting

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.

Residents of the Jacksonville community attend a prayer vigil for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting Sunday, Aug. 27, 2023, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Residents of the Jacksonville community attend a prayer vigil for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting Sunday, Aug. 27, 2023, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

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.