10 Dead in Buffalo Supermarket shooting attack, police call hate crime.
In what officials termed as “racially motivated violent extremism,” a white 18-year-old wearing military gear and livestreaming with a helmet camera opened fire with a rifle at a supermarket in Buffalo on Saturday, killing 10 people and wounded three others.
In a spree he streamed live on the streaming site Twitch, police said he shot 11 black and two white victims before surrendering to authorities.
He was later arraigned on a murder charge in a paper medical gown before a judge.
“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, speaking near the scene of the attack.
The shooting sent shockwaves across a country riven by racial tensions, gun violence, and a wave of hate crimes. Dallas police reported the day before the shooting that they were investigating a spate of shootings in Koreatown as hate crimes. The Buffalo attack occurred exactly one month after ten people were injured in a mass shooting on a Brooklyn subway train.
Payton Gendron, of Conklin, New York, roughly 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Buffalo, was identified as the alleged gunman in Saturday’s attack on Tops Friendly Market.
Payton’s trip to Buffalo and that particular grocery store was not immediately evident. Gendron was seen arriving at the supermarket in his car in a clip from his Twitch feed that was shared on social media.
According to Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia, the gunman shot four persons outside the store, three of whom died. Security guard Aaron Salter, a retired Buffalo police officer, fired multiple shots inside the establishment. According to Gramaglia, a bullet struck the gunman’s bulletproof gear but had no effect.
According to the commissioner, the gunman then killed the guard before stalking through the store shooting other people.
Police entered the store and confronted the gunman in the vestibule. He put his rifle to his own neck, but two officers talked him into dropping the gun, Gramaglia said.
“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.”
Investigators were checking into whether he had released a manifesto online, according to a law enforcement officer. The official was not allowed to speak publicly about the situation and had to do so under the condition of anonymity.
Police in Buffalo declined to comment on a letter that claimed to explain the attacker’s racist, anti-immigrant, and antisemitic convictions, including a wish to exclude all individuals not of European origin from the United States.
According to the report, he was inspired by the gunman who massacred 51 people in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019.
Sheriff John Garcia of Erie County termed the shooting a hate crime during an earlier press conference.
“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.
Among the dead was Ruth Whitfield, the 86-year-old mother of a retired Buffalo fire commissioner.
“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 Kephart and Shane Hill, both 20, pulled into the parking lot just as the shooter was exiting.
“He was standing there with the gun to his chin. We were like what the heck is going on? Why does this kid have a gun to his face?” Kephart said. He dropped to his knees. “He ripped off his helmet, dropped his gun, and was tackled by the police.”
Officials claimed Gendron’s gun was properly purchased, but the magazines he used for ammo were not permitted to be sold in New York.
In a statement, President Joe Biden said he and First Lady Michelle Obama were praying for the victims and their 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.”
The shooting came little more than a year after a March 2021 attack at a King Soopers grocery in Boulder, Colorado, that killed 10 people. Investigators have not released any information about why they believe the man charged in that attack targeted the supermarket.
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 has asked the White House to hold a conference with Black, Jewish, and Asian leaders to show the federal government’s commitment to fighting hate crimes.
Erica Pugh-Mathews was waiting outside the store, behind police tape, more than two hours after the shooting.
“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. He was able to hide in a freezer but he was not able to get to my aunt and does not know where she is. We just would like word either way if she’s OK.”
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