Payton Gendron: What We Know About Suspect in Buffalo Mass Shooting

Ten people were killed Saturday in a mass shooting at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, in what authorities have called an “evil” racially motivated act of violent extremism, and arguably the worst mass shooting in the city’s history.

Payton Gendron, of Conklin, New York, was arraigned Saturday and charged with first degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty.

Here’s everything we know about what happened:

How many victims were there?

Ten people were killed in Saturday’s shooting, including a retired Buffalo police officer who worked as a security guard at the store, officials said.

Three more people suffered non-fatal injuries, they added during a news conference on Saturday.

The victims include 11 blacks, police said, and four store employees.

Have the police arrested a suspect?

Police have arrested Payton Gendron, an 18-year-old white male, and charged with first degree murder, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

Was the Buffalo shooting racially motivated?

Officials are investigating the shooting as a hate crime and domestic extremism.

“This was pure evil,” Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said Saturday. “It was outright racially motivated hate crime by someone outside of our community.”

Police also said they have evidence pointing to a racist motive for the attack, though they declined to confirm media reports that Mr Gendron left a hate-filled manifesto online.

The gunman reportedly posted a racist manifesto on the infamous online message board 4chan, detailing white supremacist ideas about the “great replacement” theory and IQ differences between races.

The document says he chose his target because it had the highest concentration of black people in the area. The New York Times reports. It also describes how the gunman became “bored” and radicalized during Covid lockdowns in 2020 by reading the bulletin board, citing the gunman in Christchurch, New Zealand as a source of inspiration.

What kind of weapon did the alleged shooter use?

The gunman was carrying “tactical equipment” including a military-style rifle and body armor, police said.

A guard at the Tops store fired on and punched the suspected gunman during the mass shooting, but the armor stopped the bullet, officials said Saturday.

Gendron used a legally purchased rifle equipped with modifications that are illegal in New York State, according to Governor Kathy Hochul, who noted that such “illegal magazines” could be legally purchased in nearby states such as Pennsylvania.

How did the shooting go?

The suspect arrived at the grocery store after 2:30 p.m. ET and shot four people in the parking lot, killing three, before entering the store and firing multiple shots.

Some hid as the gunman made his way through the market.

A Tops Markets employee who identified herself as Will G said:The Buffalo News that he hid with a group of people in a walk-in cooler of a supermarket while gunshots rang out in the store.

“I just heard shots. Shots and shots and shots,” he told the outlet. “It sounded like things were falling over. … I hid. I just hid. I wouldn’t leave that room.”

The person was surrounded by police in the store’s vestibule after the shooting took place. He put his gun to his neck before officers persuaded him to drop his weapons and surrender.

Has the suspect been charged?

Payton Gendron has been charged with first degree murder and faces life in prison without parole.

His next court hearing will be on Thursday, May 19.

What’s next for the investigation?

Police are now working to secure and investigate a sprawling crime scene involving both the parking lot and the interior of the Tops store in Buffalo.

Agencies including the Buffalo Police Department, the New York State Police, the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are all helping with the case.

Additional charges may apply at the federal level.

What do authorities say about the shooting?

Leaders at all levels of government have spoken out after the attack.

“The president was briefed this afternoon by his Homeland Security Advisor about the horrific shooting in Buffalo, NY,” the White House said in a statement. “He will continue to receive updates throughout the evening and tomorrow as more information comes in. The President and the First Lady pray for those who died and for their loved ones.”

“The nation’s eyes are on Buffalo,” U.S. Representative Brian Higgins said at a news conference on Saturday. “They are full of tears and full of sympathy for the violence and tragedy perpetrated on good innocent people.”

“This should not happen in this community and in any community in this country,” added Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. “This is the city of good neighbours. We are a loving community. We pray that this will not exacerbate racial tensions. We cannot let a bad person divide this communication and a bad person our demand.”

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