A memorial to Anolt (AJ) Laguerre Jr. stands in front of the Dollar General on Kings Road in Jacksonville's Grand Park community. Laguerre, 19, was one of three people killed by a white supremacist in August 2023. He was an employee at the store. | Will Brown, Jacksonville Today

Dollar General, site of race-motivated mass shooting, will reopen Friday

Published on January 11, 2024 at 11:26 pm

On Friday, the same morning when Jacksonville leaders will celebrate unity with their Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast Downtown, the Dollar General store that was the site of a hate-motivated mass shooting last summer will quietly reopen two miles up the road in Grand Park.

The store has been closed for the 139 days since a white Clay County man who was targeting Black people killed three strangers and then himself there on Aug. 26, 2023.

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“It’s really important to pause and reflect,” says Dollar General spokeswoman Crystal Luce. “There was a senseless tragedy that occurred here.”

The Tennessee-based Dollar General chain says it donated $500,000 toward the First Coast Relief Fund, activated to support local organizations working to reduce racial disparities, as well as $1 million toward its own Employee Relief Fund. But, speaking with Jacksonville Today on Thursday, the company did not detail how it supported the handful of employees who worked at the Kings Road location at the time of the shooting.

The 21-year-old shooter, who left behind writings filled with white supremacist ideology, killed Dollar General employee Anolt “AJ” Laguerre Jr., along with Jerrald Gallion and Angela Carr on Aug. 26. Carr, 52, was a rideshare driver who was communicating with her grandchildren in the parking lot at the time of the shooting. Gallion, 29, was shopping at the store with his girlfriend. Laguerre, 19, was trying to earn some spending money.

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A makeshift memorial to the victims of the Aug. 26, 2023, attack still stands in front of the Dollar General in Grand Park a day before its reopening. | Will Brown, Jacksonville Today

In December, the families filed suit against Dollar General, along with the company that owns the property, the company responsible for digital security, the estate of the 21-year-old killer and the killer’s parents.

“The safety and security of both our employees and our customers, certainly, are top priorities,” Luce, the company spokesperson, said Thursday. “We have invested and will continue to invest in various security measures at our stores. And to protect the integrity of our procedures, we are not disclosing the specifics of those.”

The company says it’s worked to connect with area residents in the months since to open in a way that respects the Grand Park and New Town communities. In meetings with community stakeholders, Dollar General says it heard the need for the 5,700-square-foot location to offer fruits and vegetables.

The location is in the heart of a food desert. The Northwest Jacksonville Community Development Corporation has long sought to bring a full grocery store to the 32209 ZIP code, where the median household income is less than half the statewide average and the 36% poverty rate is nearly triple the statewide average.

A new plaque outside of the Dollar General location on Kings Road in Jacksonville’s Grand Park neighborhood. | Will Brown, Jacksonville Today

Just beyond the store’s parking lot, a makeshift memorial to the victims remained intact with the imminent reopening, its stuffed animals weathered but the faces of the deceased still clear.

On Thursday afternoon, more than a dozen people noticed reporters’ cars parked in front of the store and believed it was open. Some were driving through and needed convenience items. Others were residents.

The store is one of 45 Dollar General locations in Jacksonville.

author image Reporter email Will Brown is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. He previously reported for the Jacksonville Business Journal. And before that, he spent more than a decade as a sports reporter at The St. Augustine Record, Victoria (Texas) Advocate and the Tallahassee Democrat. Reach him at

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