A security guard at Edward Waters University in Florida is being praised as a hero after he reportedly thwarted an alleged gunman from carrying out a massacre on campus.
Lt. Antonio Bailey confronted the alleged shooter and chased him off campus after a group of students alerted him about the “unwelcome and unauthorized intruder” Saturday, according to ABC News.
“We preach if you see something, say something,” Bailey said. “And they did just that.”
Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters confirmed that 21-year-old Ryan Christopher Palmeter stopped at Edward Waters before killing three people inside a New Town Dollar General store.
The sheriff said information gathered so far supports the theory that Palmeter visited the school solely to put on a bulletproof vest and prepare for the store massacre.
However, Dr. A. Zachary Faison, Jr., president and CEO of Edward Waters University, praised Bailey as a hero and said he believes the historically Black Christian college was the suspect’s initial target.
Bailey rejected the moniker, however, thanking the students who flagged him down and warned him about the strange campus invader they had seen wearing a bulletproof vest, latex gloves and a mask.
The sheriff traced a timeline for the alleged gunman, who was seen at 12:48 p.m. ET on Saturday in a faculty parking lot behind the university library. Soon after, a video emerged on TikTok of him at the institution donning a bulletproof tactical vest.
Bailey, who was on patrol around the same time, recalled getting in his campus security vehicle and speeding to the parking lot, where he saw the stranger hiding inside a brown car, donning body armor and a mask. He said he didn’t see any weapons at the time.
“For you to have on a tactical vest, gloves and a mask, you know, the question raised [was] what are you doing here?” Bailey contended.
He said he parked his car and got within 10 to 15 feet of the man’s car on foot before the driver suddenly noticed him and took off running out of the parking lot, jumping a curb and almost colliding with a brick column.
Bailey said that after taking the license plate number and noting the driver’s direction, he returned to his automobile and pursued the vehicle. He reportedly stopped a sheriff’s officer in Jacksonville and told him about the suspect.
Waters said the deputy was composing an alert for police to watch for the described suspect when the shooting broke out at the Dollar General.
Bailey said he felt “saddened” to learn the shooting was carried out by the same man he chased out of the university parking lot.
On Sunday, Waters shared that Palmeter shot and killed 52-year-old Angela Michelle Carr when he opened fire on a car outside the Dollar General store just minutes after leaving the university. He then entered the establishment and killed store employee Anolt Joseph “AJ” Laguerre Jr., 19, and 29-year-old customer Jerrald De’Shaun Gallion.
The sheriff said the shooting spree lasted just over 11 minutes, and the suspect committed suicide after calling his father, who discovered his son’s last will and a suicide note in his bedroom.
“He came to where he thought African Americans would be, and that’s Florida’s first HBCU,” Faison said, ABC reported. “It’s also not lost on us that he came to the New Town community. This is the heart of the Black community in Jacksonville.”