On Saturday, at a supermarket in Buffalo, upstate New York, a heavily armed young white man opened fire, killing at least ten people, most of them African Americans. “We are investigating this incident as both a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism,” Buffalo FBI police officer Stephen Belongia said at a news conference in that city. North American, on the shores of Lake Erie, on the border with Canada.
A camera to broadcast his crime live on the internet
The killer, who was heavily armed, was immediately arrested on the spot, initially prosecuted for “premeditated murder” and imprisoned. It is about a young white man who was equipped with an “assault weapon”, a bulletproof vest, a military type outfit, a helmet and a camera to broadcast his crime live on the internet, announced the local police and judicial authorities.
Buffalo Police Chief Joseph Gramaglia reported “ten people killed” and three others injured. Eleven were black people and two were white, in this predominantly African-American neighborhood of Buffalo.
According to Commissioner Gramaglia, the killer first shot four people in the parking lot of the Tops supermarket, killing three of them, before entering the business and committing carnage there. There, a security guard, a retired policeman, shot the assailant but the latter, protected by his bulletproof vest, was not injured and shot the guard.
When the police arrived very quickly on the scene, the young man turned his weapon against him, at the level of his neck, before surrendering to the police, according to Commissioner Gramaglia. This attack is “a crime motivated by hate and racism” perpetrated by “evil incarnate”, blasted Erie County Sheriff John Garcia.
“Hate crime” in the United States refers to an act directed against a targeted person because of elements of their identity such as race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation or disability. Considered an aggravated federal offence, it carries harsher sentences.
The video deleted “two minutes” after the start of its broadcast
Asked if the shooter faced the death penalty at the federal level, the local representative of the prosecution of the United States Department of Justice replied that “all options were on the table”. The assailant, who was carrying a camera, began to broadcast his crime on the Twitch platform, which declared itself “devastated” and promised “zero tolerance against all forms of violence”. According to the social network, the content was deleted “two minutes” after it began to be broadcast, the attacker’s account was “permanently suspended” and “all accounts likely to repost this content are under surveillance”.
A racist “manifesto” disseminated on the internet
American media have also mentioned a “manifesto” of a racist nature broadcast on the internet.
According to the New York Times, citing this “manifesto”, the suspect was “inspired” by crimes committed by white supremacists, including the 2019 massacre of 51 worshipers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The Buffalo News newspaper even revealed that an offensive, racist and taboo word in the United States for black people had been painted in white on the barrel of the weapon. It is an “excruciating killing by a white supremacist,” New York State Governor Kathy Hochul thundered on Twitter.
According to the mayor of Buffalo, an African-American, Byron Brown, the killer traveled several hours to commit his crime.
In a statement, US President Joe Biden denounced the attack, recalling that “any act of domestic terrorism, including an act perpetrated in the name of a repugnant white nationalist ideology, is contrary to everything we stand for in America”.
In the United States, firearms killed nearly 45,000 people in 2021
This killing recalls two others: a racist massacre on August 3, 2019, when a 21-year-old far-right man killed 23 people, including eight Mexicans and “Hispanic” people in El Paso, Texas; and when, on June 17, 2015, a white supremacist killed nine African-American worshipers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.
In both cases, hateful manifestos had been posted online before the attacks.
Serial shootings and murders in the United States in public places are tragically almost daily and gun crime is on the rise in major cities like New York, Chicago, Miami or San Francisco, especially since the coronavirus pandemic. 2020. In 2021, firearms killed nearly 45,000 people in the United States, including about 24,000 suicides, according to the organization Gun Violence Archive.
The right to possess arms is guaranteed by the Constitution. Several initiatives by elected officials to strengthen gun laws have failed in Congress in recent years, with the powerful NRA gun lobby remaining highly influential.
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