Dollar General store expected to reopen Friday nearly 5 months after racist attack

For the first time since three people were killed in a racially motivated shooting in August, the doors of the Dollar General store in Grand Park will open Friday at 9 a.m.

News4JAX reporter Marilyn Parker got a tour of the changes inside the renovated store and spoke with a Dollar General spokesperson ahead of the re-opening. We’ve been asked not to share details until the store opens.

A memorial to the three Black victims killed in the Kings Road store remains outside, honoring AJ Laguerre Jr., 19, Angela Carr, 52, and Jerrald Gallion, 29.

The gunman took his own life.

Attorneys for the victims oppose the re-opening of the store, saying it disrespects the three who lost their lives in the attack.

“It minimizes the value of their lives,” said Adam Finkel, a lawyer with The Haggard Law Firm. “This is about money, what they’re doing. They’re trying to market again to say, ‘Come back into our stores and buy our items. So we can make up for the profit loss from having closed the store,’ having closed the store because the walls were covered in blood,” Finkel said.

Finkel said the store needs to add security guards and ensure patrons’ safety.

“If they wanted to really be the community store and give back to the community, people don’t want to be shot and killed when they go buy groceries. People want to be safe,” Finkel said. “If they truly wanted to make the argument, ‘We are reopening so that way we can give back to our community,’ well, do something to make them safe, do something to reasonably ensure that more members of this community aren’t going to fall victim to another crime.”

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said the shooter left two other places when he saw security guards before ending up at Dollar General.

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As the store reopens the victims’ families and the community continue to grieve and struggle to heal from the tragedy.

News4JAX went into the neighborhood Thursday and spoke with residents who live nearby. Some of them said they are looking forward to the store’s reopening, while others said it was not the right move.

One neighbor told News4JAX he’s glad the store is reopening because it’s the closest one to him. He said he visited the store the day of the attack, just 20 minutes before the shooting happened.

Despite being so close to the attack, the man said he feels comfortable knowing that the store will remain in his neighborhood.

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But a few doors down, a woman told News4JAX she would never go back to the store because the tragedy is “too close to home” and she doesn’t think even security guards would make her feel safe enough to return.

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