A white gunman livestreamed a racially motivated mass shooting online, which showed him killing 10 people and wounding three others at a grocery store in Buffalo, NY, in a historically black neighborhood.
The suspect has been identified as Payton Gendron, 18, of Conklin, NY
Witnesses and law enforcement said the gunman was dressed in body armor and armed with a high-powered rifle as he live-streamed the massacre. Investigators were reviewing a hate-filled manifesto that the suspect had apparently posted online.
U.S. Representative Brian Higgins, whose district includes parts of Buffalo, said the gunman had a racial nickname on his gun.
“It was outright a racially motivated hate crime,” Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said at a news conference.
The FBI is investigating this “as both a hate crime and racially motivated violent extremism,” said Stephen Belongia, special agent in charge in Buffalo.
He said the investigation was the number 1 priority of the Department of Justice.
Of the 13 victims, 11 are black and two white, according to Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia.
The suspect is in custody and was arraigned Saturday night on suspicion of first degree murder, the highest murder charge in New York state.
Gendron, who wore a white mask and white paper smock, pleaded not guilty by a deputy public defender in a Buffalo courtroom.
At a news conference, Erie County Dist said. atty. John Flynn said a crime hearing would be held in five days.
He said his office was also considering terrorism charges, as well as “other murder charges,” and working with the federal government “so they may be able to file charges as well.”
“I assure everyone in this community that justice is being done now and justice will be done,” Flynn said.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said the suspect had traveled “hours” from out of town.
“The shooter was not from this community. In fact, the shooter traveled for hours from outside this community to commit this crime against the people of Buffalo,” he said.
Conklin, the suspect’s residence, is about 200 miles southeast of Buffalo.
The mayor said it was a day of “a lot of pain” for the city.
According to police, the gunman arrived at the supermarket around 2:30 p.m. and exited his vehicle. He shot four people in the parking lot. Three of them died.
He then entered the store, where a guard, a former Buffalo police officer, approached him.
“Because it had heavily armored plating on, the bullet had no bullet. The suspect called in our retired officer and he was shot on the spot and died,” Gramaglia said.
The gunman then continued to fire as he made his way through the store, then returned to the front, where police officers convinced him to drop his weapon.
He was arrested and taken to the Buffalo Police Station.
About 20 people saw the live stream, which lasted 30 seconds, on the broadcasting app Twitch, according to the police. One of the viewers immediately warned the authorities. The Twitch page has since been removed by the provider.
In part of the video, the gunman can be heard saying to himself and his followers, “You just go for it,” as his car approached the Tops Friendly supermarket on Saturday afternoon.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul described the massacre as “a military-style execution targeting people who simply want to buy groceries at a convenience store.”
“It touches our hearts to know that such evil lurks,” she said at a news conference, adding that it was her “sincere hope” that the suspect would “have his days for the rest of the day.” spend behind bars.”
Grady Lewis, an eyewitness to the shooting, told Buffalo’s WKBW news that the scene was “terrible.” He saw people running and witnessed the suspect shooting at people.
He said the gunman was “fully prepared and ready to go”.
Tops Friendly Supermarket is located on Jefferson Avenue in a historically black neighborhood of Buffalo. It is steps away from the Buffalo Black Achievers Museum and the Frank E. Merriweather Jr. Library, named after the publisher of the Buffalo Criterion, the oldest African-American weekly newspaper in New York State.
Darius G. Pridgen, Buffalo City Council president and senior pastor of the True Bethel Baptist Church, told CNN that the gunman “came to one of the most historic streets in the city of Buffalo, in a historic area where we see the Apollo Theater.” have – and [he] erected, and [he] drew a weapon and [he] aimed and started firing.”
“My message is to make sure we recognize that this is a person,” Pridgen said. “This was not a white man from our community. This was not a white man from Buffalo. This was a white man who was evil.”
Others weighed in, lamenting the lack of gun control laws that they say are leading to this type of mass shooting.
“The simple fact is that our leaders have abandoned Buffalo,” said Noah Lumbantobing, spokesman for March For Our Lives, a student-formed anti-gun organization based in Brooklyn. “This unfathomable tragedy should never have happened… This act of violence was only a matter of time, and unless our leaders take drastic action, it is only a matter of time until the next senseless mass shooting.”
Hours after the Buffalo attack, a shooting was reported outside the Grand Central Market in Los Angeles. One person was killed and others were turned away from the popular dining room.