The FBI has launched a federal civil rights investigation into the mass shooting a white man allegedly unleashed on Black patrons at a Dollar General in Jacksonville, Florida, on Saturday (Aug. 26). The gunman, who is described as being in his early 20s, is believed to have fatally wounded two Black men and a woman before he turned the gun on himself.

The shooting, which sent the nearby historically Black institution Edward Waters University into lockdown, has been declared a hate crime by authorities. “This shooting was racially motivated, and he hated Black people,” said Sheriff T.K. Waters in a press conference. “He wanted to kill n**gers.” Waters continued as he described the white man as “a maniac who decided he wanted to take lives.

Law enforcement said the gunman attempted to gain entry to the campus before he made his way to the retailer located on Kings Road and Canal Street. In a statement released on social media, university officials said, “The individual returned to their car and left campus without incident.” According to police, when the unidentified man arrived at the Dollar General, he had on a tactical vest and a mask and was armed with an AR-15-style rifle that had white swastikas drawn on it and a loaded handgun. He opened fire inside and outside of the store.

“He targeted a certain group of people, and that’s Black people; that’s what he said he wanted to kill. And that’s very clear … Any member of that race at that time was in danger — of the Black race,” said Waters. The Clayton County man had previous run-ins with police. As reported by NBC News, he was involved in a domestic disturbance in 2016, and in 2017, he was held for a 72-hour mental health evaluation.

Governor Ron DeSantis condemned the gunman in a video shared with the media. “He was targeting people based on their race. That is totally unacceptable. This guy killed himself rather than face the music and accept responsibility for his actions, and so he took the coward’s way out,” said the politician.

While authorities believe the man acted alone and was not associated with a larger group, it was determined that his shooting spree was preceded by messages he left for his parents. They are described as expressing a “disgusting ideology of hate” and being laced with racial slurs.