10 dead at a Buffalo supermarket attack police as a hate crime

10 dead at a Buffalo supermarket attack police as a hate crime

BUFFALO, NY (AP) — A white 18-year-old man in military gear and live streaming with a helmet camera opened fire with a rifle at a Buffalo supermarket Saturday, killing 10 people and injuring three others in what authorities described as “racially motivated.” violent extremism.”

Police said he shot and killed 11 black and two white victims before surrendering to authorities in a killing spree he broadcast live on streaming platform Twitch.

He later appeared before a judge in a paper doctor’s coat and was charged with murder.

“I sincerely hope that this individual, this white supremacist who just committed a hate crime against an innocent community, spends the rest of his days behind bars. And heaven help him in the next world too,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said, speaking near the scene of the crime.

The massacre sent shockwaves through an unsettled nation riddled with racial tensions, gun violence and a spate of hate crimes. The day before the shooting, Dallas police said they were investigating a series of shootings in Koreatown as a hate crime. The attack in Buffalo came just a month after another mass shooting on a Brooklyn subway left 10 people injured.

The suspected shooter in Saturday’s Tops Friendly Market attack has been identified as Payton Gendron of Conklin, New York, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Buffalo.

It wasn’t immediately clear why Payton had traveled to Buffalo and to that particular grocery store. A clip, apparently taken from his Twitch feed and posted to social media, showed Gendron arriving at the supermarket in his car.

The gunman shot four people outside the store, three fatally, said Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia. At the store, a security guard who was a retired Buffalo police officer fired multiple shots, but a bullet that struck the gunman’s bulletproof vest had no effect, Gramaglia added.

The gunman then killed the guard, the commissioner said, and then strutted through the store shooting more victims.

“This is the worst nightmare any community can face and we are suffering and seething right now,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at the news conference. “The depth of pain that families are feeling and that we are all feeling right now cannot even be explained.”

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Police entered the store and confronted the shooter in the anteroom.

“At that point, the suspect was putting the gun to his own neck,” Gramaglia said. Two officers persuaded him to drop the gun, the commissioner said.

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

A law enforcement official told The Associated Press that investigators were looking into whether he posted a manifesto online. The official was not allowed to comment publicly on the matter and did so on condition of anonymity.

Buffalo police declined to comment on the widely circulated document, which is said to outline the attacker’s racist, anti-immigrant and anti-emetic beliefs, including a desire to evict all people of non-European descent from the United States, which killed 51 people in 2019 in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

At the earlier news conference, Erie County Sheriff John Garcia specifically called the shooting a hate crime.

“It was pure evil. It was (a) a racially motivated hate crime by someone outside of our community, outside of the town of good neighbors … who came into our community and tried to do this evil to us,” Garcia said.

Witnesses Braedyn Kephart and Shane Hill, both 20, pulled into the parking lot just as the gunman emerged. They described a white man in his late teens or early 20s wearing full camouflage, a black helmet and carrying a rifle.

“He stood there with the gun to his chin. We were like, what the hell is going on? Why does that boy have a gun in his face?” said Kephart. He fell to his knees. “He ripped off his helmet, dropped his gun and was attacked by police.”

Officials said the Gendron rifle used in the attack was legally purchased, but the magazines he used for ammunition were not allowed to be sold in New York.

President Joe Biden said in a statement he and the first lady are praying for the victims and their families.

“We still need to learn more about the motivation for today’s shooting while law enforcement goes about its business, but we need no more to state a stark moral truth: A racially motivated hate crime is abhorrent to the very fabric of this nation. he said. “Any act of domestic terrorism, including an act committed in the name of a repugnant white nationalist ideology, is contrary to everything we stand for in America.”

Tops Friendly Markets released 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 as to why they believe the man charged in the attack targeted the supermarket.

NAACP President Derrick Johnson issued a statement calling the Buffalo shooting “absolutely devastating.”

“Our hearts go out to the community and everyone affected by this terrible tragedy. Hatred and racism have no place in America. We are devastated, extremely upset and praying for the families and loved ones of the victims,” ​​he added.

Rev. Al Sharpton called on the White House to call a meeting with black, Jewish and Asian leaders “to underscore that the federal government is escalating its efforts on hate crime.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland was briefed on the shooting, Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said.

More than two hours after the shooting, Erica Pugh-Mathews waited outside the store behind 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 into 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’d just like a message if she’s okay.”

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Associated Press reporters Eric Tucker in Washington and Aaron Morrison in New York City contributed to this report. Balsamo reported from Washington and Collins from Hartford, Connecticut.

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