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Feds interview parents of suspect in fatal supermarket shooting

BUFFALO, NY (AP) — Federal agents interviewed the parents of the teenager accused of shooting and killing 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket and issued multiple search warrants, a law enforcement official said Sunday. laws to the Associated Press.

Federal authorities were still working to confirm the authenticity of a 180-page manifesto posted online, which detailed the plot and identified Payton Gendron by name as the shooter, the official said. Authorities say the shooting was motivated by racial hatred.

Gendron’s parents were cooperating with investigators, the official said. The official was not authorized to publicly discuss details of the Saturday afternoon shooting investigation and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.

People pay their respects outside the scene of a supermarket shooting in Buffalo, New York, on Sunday.

A preliminary investigation found Gendron repeatedly visited sites espousing white supremacist ideologies and race-based conspiracy theories and thoroughly researched the 2019 mosque shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, and about the man who killed dozens of people at a summer camp in Norway in 2011, the official said. .

It was not immediately clear why Gendron traveled approximately 200 miles from his Conklin, New York, to Buffalo and this particular grocery store, but investigators believe Gendron specifically studied the demographics of the population around Tops Friendly Market and researched communities with a high number of African-American residents, the official said. The market is located in a predominantly black neighborhood.

“It’s just too much. I try to testify but it’s too much. You can’t even go to the damn store in peace,” Buffalo resident Yvonne Woodard told the AP. “It’s just crazy.”

In a Sunday interview with ABC, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Gendron was in town “at least the day before.”

Feds interview parents of suspect in fatal supermarket shooting
Police are seen parked outside the scene of Saturday’s shooting which left 10 people dead.

“It looks like he came here to explore the area, to do a little reconnaissance work on the area before doing his sickening evil deed,” Gramaglia said.

Police said Gendron shot dead a total of 11 black people and two white people on Saturday in a rampage that the 18-year-old broadcast live before turning himself in to authorities. Screenshots believed to be from the Twitch broadcast appear to show a racial epithet scrawled on the rifle used in the attack, along with the number 14, a likely reference to a white supremacist slogan.

“We pray for their families. But after praying – after rising from our knees – we must demand change. We must demand justice,” State Attorney General Letitia James said at an emotional service in Buffalo on Sunday morning. “It was domestic terrorism, plain and simple.”

Among the dead was security guard Aaron Salter — a retired Buffalo police officer — who fired multiple shots at Gendron, Gramaglia said Saturday. A bullet hit the shooter’s armor, but had no effect. Gendron then killed Salter, before chasing other victims.

“He cared about the community. He was taking care of the store,” Yvette Mack, who had shopped at Tops earlier on Saturday, said of Salter. “He did a good job, you know. He was very nice and respectable.

Ruth Whitfield, 86, mother of retired Buffalo Fire Marshal Garnell Whitfield, was also killed.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told worshipers he saw the former firefighter at the scene of the shooting on Saturday, looking for his mother.

Feds interview parents of suspect in fatal supermarket shooting
Children walk hand in hand near the scene of Saturday’s shooting in Buffalo.

“My mother had just gone to see my father, as she does every day, at the retirement home and stopped at Les Tops to do some shopping. And no one has heard of her,” Whitfield told the mayor at the time. She was confirmed as a victim later that day, Brown said.

Katherine Massey, who had gone to the store to shop, was also killed, according to the Buffalo News. The names of the other victims have not been released.

Twitch said in a statement that it ended Gendron’s broadcast “less than two minutes after the violence began.”

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a native of Buffalo, called on the tech industry to take responsibility for its role in spreading hate speech in an interview Sunday with ABC.

“The CEOs of these companies need to be held accountable and assure us all that they are taking every step humanly possible to be able to monitor this information. How these depraved ideas are fermenting on social media – it’s now spreading like a virus,” she said, adding that a lack of oversight could cause other people to imitate the shooter.

The mass shooting further disrupted a nation ravaged by racial tensions, gun violence and a string of hate crimes. The day before, Dallas police said they were investigating shootings in the city’s Koreatown as hate crimes. The Buffalo attack came just a month after a Brooklyn subway shooting left 10 injured and just over a year after 10 were killed in a Colorado supermarket shooting.

Gendron, confronted by police in the vestibule of the store, put a gun to his neck but was convinced to drop it. He was arraigned later on Saturday for murder, appearing before a paper-robed judge.

Buffalo police declined to comment on the purported manifesto that apparently spells out the attacker’s racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic beliefs, including a desire to drive all non-Europeans out of the United States. The document says he was inspired by the shooter who killed 51 people. at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019.

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