An 18-year-old white youth wearing military gear and live streaming with a helmet camera opened fire with a rifle at a supermarket in Buffalo, killing 10 people and injuring three others on Saturday in what authorities described as “violent extremism for racial”.
Police said he shot 11 black victims and two white victims before turning himself in to authorities in a riot he live-streamed on the streaming platform Twitch.
He later appeared before a judge in a paper medical gown and was charged with murder.
“It is my sincere hope that this individual, this white supremacist who has just committed a hate crime against an innocent community, will spend the rest of his days behind bars. And may God help him in the next world as well,” Governor Kathy said. . Hochul, speaking near the attack site.
The massacre sent shockwaves through an unstable nation gripped by racial tensions, gun violence and a slew of hate crimes. The day before the shooting, Dallas police said they were investigating a series of shootings in Koreatown as hate crimes. The Buffalo attack came just a month after another mass shooting on a Brooklyn subway train injured 10 people.
The alleged shooter in Saturday’s attack on Tops Friendly Market has been identified as Payton Gendron of Conklin, New York, about 200 miles southeast of Buffalo.
It wasn’t immediately clear why Payton traveled to Buffalo and that particular grocery store. A clip apparently from his Twitch feed, posted on social media, showed Gendron arriving at the grocery store in his car.
The gunman shot four people outside the store, three fatally, said Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia. Inside the store, a security guard who was a retired Buffalo police officer fired several shots, but a bullet that hit the gunman’s bulletproof vest had no effect, Gramaglia added.
The gunman then killed the guard, the commissioner said, and then walked through the store shooting other victims.
“This is the worst nightmare any community can face, and we’re hurting and boiling right now,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told a news conference. “The depth of pain that the families are feeling and that we are all feeling right now cannot even be explained.”
The police entered the store and confronted the shooter in the foyer.
“At that moment, the suspect put the gun to his own neck,” Gramaglia said. Two police officers convinced him to drop his weapon, the commissioner said.
Twitch said in a statement that it ended Gendron’s broadcast “less than two minutes after the violence began.”
At the previous press conference, Erie County Sheriff John Garcia called the shooting a hate crime.
“This was pure evil. It was a racially motivated hate crime of someone outside of our community, outside of the City of Good Neighbors… stepping into our community and trying to inflict this evil on us,” Garcia said.
Witnesses Braedyn Kephart and Shane Hill, both in their 20s, entered the parking lot just as the gunman was leaving. They depicted a white male in his late teens or early twenties wearing full camouflage, a black helmet and what appeared to be a rifle.
“He was there with the gun pointed at his chin. We were like what the hell is going on? Why does this kid have a gun pointed at his face?” said Kephart. He dropped to his knees. “He ripped off his helmet, dropped the gun and was approached by the police.”
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.”
Officials said the Gendron rifle used in the attack was legally purchased, but the magazines he used for ammunition cannot be sold in New York.
The shooting came just over a year after a March 2021 attack at a King Soopers supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, which killed 10 people. Investigators have not released any information as to why they believe the man accused in the attack targeted the supermarket.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson issued a statement in which he called the Buffalo shooting “absolutely devastating”.
“Our hearts go out to the community and all who have been impacted by this terrible tragedy. Hate and racism have no place in America. We are devastated, extremely angry and praying for the families and loved ones of the victims,” he added.
Reverend Al Sharpton called on the White House to convene a meeting of black, Jewish and Asian leaders “to emphasize that the federal government (is) stepping up its efforts against hate crimes.”
At the White House, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden was receiving regular updates on the shooting and investigation and offered prayers with the First Lady for the victims and their loved ones.
“The president was briefed by his Homeland Security adviser about the horrific shooting in Buffalo, NY this afternoon. He will continue to receive updates overnight and tomorrow as more information develops,” she said.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has been briefed on the shooting, Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said.
More than two hours after the shooting, Erica Pugh-Mathews was waiting outside the store behind police tape.
“We would like to know the situation of my aunt, my mother’s sister. She was there with her fiancé, they split up and went to different aisles,” she said. “A bullet just missed him. He managed to hide in a freezer, but he couldn’t get to my aunt and he doesn’t know where she is. We just wanted to know if she’s okay.”
Associated Press reporters Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report. Balsamo reported from Washington and Collins reported from Hartford, Connecticut.