Harris says US ‘experiencing an epidemic of hate’ in wake of Jacksonville shooting

Vice President Harris said Monday that the United States is experiencing an “epidemic of hate” in response to the deadly shooting in Jacksonville, Fla., over the weekend.

“[L]et us continue to speak truth about the moment we are in: America is experiencing an epidemic of hate. Too many communities have been torn apart by hatred and violent extremism,” she said in a statement.

“Too many families have lost children, parents, and grandparents. Too many Black Americans live every day with the fear that they will be victims of hate-fueled gun violence—at school, at work, at their place of worship, at the grocery store.”

A white gunman opened fire at a store near a historically Black university in Jacksonville on Saturday and killed three Black people, according to authorities. Officials quickly described the incident as “racially motivated.”

“Every person in every community in America should have the freedom to live safe from gun violence. And Congress must help secure that freedom by banning assault weapons and passing other commonsense gun safety legislation,” Harris said in her statement.

The vice president acknowledged that the shooting occurred while Americans marked the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington. She also noted that the gunman used an assault-style rifle and handgun for the shooting.

Harris noted that federal law enforcement has opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting, treating it as a possible hate crime and act of domestic violent extremism.

Also on Monday, President Biden commented on the shooting, which he said was “reportedly fueled by hate-filled animus.”

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