BUFFALO, NY – An 18-year-old white youth wearing military gear and broadcasting live with a helmet camera opened fire with a rifle at a Buffalo supermarket, killing 10 people and injuring three others Saturday in what authorities described as “racially motivated violent extremism”. “
The shooter wore body armor and military-style clothing during the attack on mostly black shoppers and workers at Tops Friendly Market. For at least two minutes, he broadcast the shooting live on the Twitch streaming platform before the service ended its transmission.
Police said he shot 11 black and two white victims before surrendering to police. Later, he appeared before a judge in a paper medical gown and was charged with murder.
“I sincerely hope that this individual, this white supremacist who has just committed a hate crime against an innocent community, will spend the rest of his life behind bars. And may heaven help him in the next world as well,” said Governor Kathy. Hochul, speaking near the scene of the attack.
The suspected shooter has been identified as Payton Gendron, of Conklin, New York, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Buffalo.
It was not immediately clear why Gendron had traveled to Buffalo to organize the assault. A clip apparently from his Twitch stream, posted on social media, showed him arriving at the supermarket in his car.
The shooter shot four people outside the store, three of them fatally, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said. Inside the store, a security guard who was a retired Buffalo police officer fired several shots, but a bullet that hit the shooter’s body armor had no effect, added Gramaglia.
The shooter then killed the guard, the commissioner said, then walked through the store shooting other victims.
“This is the worst nightmare any community can face, and we’re hurting and bubbling right now,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at the press conference. “The depth of pain the families are feeling and that we are all feeling right now cannot even be explained.”
Police entered the store and confronted the shooter in the vestibule.
“At that point, the suspect put the gun to his own neck,” Gramaglia said. Two officers convinced him to drop the gun, the commissioner said.
At the previous press conference, Erie County Sheriff John Garcia called the shooting a hate crime.
“It was pure evil. It was squarely a racially motivated hate crime by someone outside of our community, outside of the city of good neighbors… coming into our community and trying to inflict on us this evil,” Garcia said.
Witnesses Braedyn Kephart and Shane Hill, both 20, pulled into the parking lot as the shooter exited. They described 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 standing there with the gun to his chin. We were like what was going on? Why does this kid have a gun to his face?” Kephart said. He fell to his knees. “He ripped off his helmet, dropped his gun and was tackled by the police.”
Tops Friendly Markets issued 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 just over a year after a March 2021 attack on a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado that killed 10 people. Investigators have not released any information on why they believe the man accused of the attack targeted the supermarket.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson released a statement in which he called the Buffalo shooting “absolutely devastating.”
“Our hearts are with the community and all those affected by this terrible tragedy. Hate and racism have no place in America. We are broken, 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 with black, Jewish and Asian leaders “to emphasize that the federal government is (scaling up) its efforts against hate crimes.”
At the White House, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden receives regular updates on the shooting and the investigation and offered prayers with the first lady for the victims and their loved ones.
“The President was briefed by his Homeland Security Advisor on the horrific shooting in Buffalo, NY, this afternoon. He will continue to receive updates throughout the evening and tomorrow as new information will develop,” 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 the police tape.
“We would like to know the status of my aunt, my mother’s sister. She was there with her fiancé, they broke up and went down different aisles,” she said. “A bullet just missed him. He was able to hide in a freezer but he couldn’t reach my aunt and doesn’t know where she is. We just want to know if she’s okay.”
Associated Press reporter Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report. Balsamo reported from Washington and Collins reported from Hartford, Connecticut.
startribune Gt Itly