The Edward Waters University security guard who confronted a white supremacist and thwarted a potential mass shooting on campus is speaking out.
Lt. Antonio Bailey, a public safety officer at the Jacksonville, Florida school is being heralded as a hero even if he doesn’t see himself that way. On Saturday, Bailey confronted Ryan Palmeter, the racist gunman who killed three people at a Dollar General store in a racially motivated attack.
The “original” target of the racist Jacksonville shooting was Edward Waters University, an HBCU, the school’s president said, calling campus police Lt. Antonio Bailey EWU’s own “T’Challa” who “protected our HBCU version of Wakanda” by thwarting the attack. https://t.co/kmjheKb74H pic.twitter.com/kJE0iL0Ghb
— Bruce Coleridge-Taylor Wright (@bctw) August 28, 2023
Before Palmeter went on his deadly rampage, he first stopped by the first historically Black college in Florida where frightened students told Lt. Bailey they saw the gunman put on a bulletproof vest, gloves, and a mask.
NBC News reports that Bailey sprang into action and approached the man, and when he saw how he was dressed, he recalled wondering: “What are you doing here? Something’s wrong.”
When Palmeter, 21, saw Bailey in uniform, he sped off, jumping a curb and exiting the campus “at a high rate of speed.”
Bailey went on to follow the man via car down the main road on campus and down side streets before getting his license plate information and giving it to a Jacksonville Sheriff’s officer. He could only pursue the man to a certain point per campus protocols, but he followed the supremacist for as long as he could.
The lieutenant’s simple actions ultimately protected the 1,200 students at the HBCU and the school’s President Zachery Faison Jr. is grateful.
“Lt. Bailey is our hero,” said President Faison during a press conference.
“I’m no hero,” countered Bailey who NBC News noted was “soft-spoken and appeared uncomfortable in the spotlight.” “If anything, it’s the students who alerted me so I could do my job.”
Governor Ron DeKlantis DeSantis has since announced that $1 million will be given to EWU for campus security and $100K will be given to the three Dollar General victims’ families.
“We are not going to allow our HBCUs to be targets for hateful scumbags,” DeSantis said in a written statement according to First Coast News. “I’ve directed my administration to use every resource available to ensure the Edward Waters campus is safe following this shooting and to help the impacted families as they mourn their loved ones.”
Despite his announcement, he was unceremoniously booed Sunday at a Jacksonville prayer vigil for the victims.