BUFFALO, N.Y. — A white 18-year-old wearing military gear and livestreaming with a helmet camera opened fire with a rifle at a supermarket in Buffalo, killing 10 people and wounding three others Saturday in what authorities described as “racially motivated violent extremism.”
According to police, he killed 11 Black and 2 White victims. He then surrendered to authorities during a rampage that he streamed live via Twitch.
The judge later saw him in a white medical gown, and he was charged with murder.
“It is my sincere hope that this individual, this white supremacist who just perpetrated a hate crime on an innocent community, will spend the rest of his days behind bars. And heaven help him in the next world as well,” said Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks near the spot of the attack.
In a country stricken by gun violence, racial tensions, and hate crimes, the massacre caused shockwaves. Dallas police had stated the previous day that they were looking into a number of Koreantown shootings as hate crimes. Just one month ago, 10 were killed in another shooting at a Brooklyn subway station.
The suspected gunman in Saturday’s attack on Tops Friendly Market was identified as Payton Gendron, of Conklin, New York, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Buffalo.
It wasn’t immediately clear why Payton had traveled to Buffalo and that particular grocery store. Gendron was seen arriving at the store in his car from a video apparently taken from his Twitch account.
Joseph Gramaglia (Buffalo Police Commissioner) said that the gunman opened fire outside, shooting four and three of them fatally. Aaron Salter, an ex-police officer from Buffalo, was the security guard inside. He fired several shots. A bullet hit the gunman’s bulletproof armor but had no effect, Gramaglia said.
According to commissioners, the attacker killed the guard then proceeded to stalk the store, shooting other victims.
Officers entered the store to confront the gunman. Gramaglia stated that he put the rifle on his neck and was coerced by two officers to drop it.
“This is the worst nightmare that any community can face, and we are hurting and we are seething right now,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at the news conference. “The depth of pain that families are feeling and that all of us are feeling right now cannot even be explained.”
Twitch said in a statement that it ended Gendron’s transmission “less than two minutes after the violence started.”
According to The Associated Press, a law enforcement officer said that they were investigating whether he posted a manifesto online. Officials were not allowed to discuss the subject publicly and gave their consent on condition that they remain anonymous.
Buffalo police declined to comment on the document, circulated widely online, that purports to outline the attacker’s racist, anti-immigrant and antisemitic beliefs, including a desire to drive all people not of European descent from the U.S. According to the document, he was inspired by the New Zealand man responsible for killing 51 people in Christchurch mosques.
John Garcia from Erie County stated that the shooting had been a hate crime during the previous news briefing.
“This was pure evil. It was (a) straight up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community, outside of the City of Good Neighbors … coming into our community and trying to inflict that evil upon us,” Garcia said.
Ruth Whitfield, 86-year old mother of a Buffalo fire commissioner retired, was one of the victims.
“My mother was a mother to the motherless. She was a blessing to all of us,” former Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield told the Buffalo News.
Witnesses Braedyn Ketch and Shane Hill (both 20) pulled in to the parking lot right as the shooter exited.
“He was standing there with the gun to his chin. It was like, “What is the matter?” Why does this kid have a gun to his face?” Kephart said. Kephart said that he fell to his knees. “He ripped off his helmet, dropped his gun, and was tackled by the police.”
Officials claimed that Gendron purchased the weapon legally, while the magazines used to make the ammunition weren’t allowed for sale in New York.
In a statement, President Joe Biden said that he and his wife were praying for victims’ families.
“We still need to learn more about the motivation for today’s shooting as law enforcement does its work, but we don’t need anything else to state a clear moral truth: A racially motivated hate crime is abhorrent to the very fabric of this nation,” he said. “Any act of domestic terrorism, including an act perpetrated in the name of a repugnant white nationalist ideology, is antithetical to everything we stand for in America.”
Tops Friendly Markets released a statement saying, “We are shocked and deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”
It was less than a year since a shooting at King Soopers in Boulder, Colorado that left 10 dead, March 20,21. The motive behind the attack on the supermarket has not been revealed by investigators.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson issued a statement in which he called the Buffalo shooting “absolutely devastating.”
“Hate and racism have no place in America,” he said.
The Rev. Al Sharpton urged the White House for a meeting of Black, Jewish, and Asian leaders in order to show federal support against hate crime.
Erica Pugh–Mathews, who was still waiting behind the police tape outside the store more than two hours after shooting took place.
“We would like to know the status of my aunt, my mother’s sister. She was in there with her fiancé, they separated and went to different aisles,” she said. “A bullet barely missed him. While he was able hide in the freezer and was able get to his aunt, he did not manage to reach her. We just would like word either way if she’s OK.”
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