Ten people were killed and three others injured, two of them critically, in a shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York on Saturday afternoon. Law enforcement officials described it as a racist hate crime.
The suspect was identified as Payton Gendron, an 18-year-old white man from Conklin, New York, about 200 miles southeast of Buffalo.
According to witnesses and law enforcement officials, the gunman was dressed in armor, armed with a high-powered rifle and streamed the massacre. Investigators recovered a poster.
“It was clear, 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, a special agent in charge of Buffalo.
He said the survey was no. 1 priority of the Department of Justice.
Of the 13 victims, 11 are black and two are white, according to Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia.
The suspect is in custody and was arrested Saturday night, charged with first degree murder, the highest murder charge in upstate New York.
Gendron, wearing a white mask and white paper apron, pleaded not guilty through a deputy public defender in a Buffalo courtroom.
In a press conference, Erie County Dist. Av John Flynn said a felony hearing would take place in five days.
He said his office was also looking into the terrorism allegations, as well as “other murder allegations” and was working with the federal government “so that maybe they too can file a complaint.”
“I assure everyone in this community that justice is being done right 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 killer traveled outside this community for hours to perpetrate this crime on the people of Buffalo, “he said.
He said it was a day of “great pain” for the city.
According to police, the gunman arrived at the supermarket around 2.30pm and got out of his vehicle. He shot four people in the parking lot. Three of them died.
He then walked into the shop, where a security guard who was a former Buffalo police officer confronted him.
“Because he had heavily armored armor, the bullet had no bullets. The suspect hired our retired officer and was shot and died at the scene,” Gramaglia said.
The gunman then continued shooting as he made his way through the shop, then returned to the front, where police officers convinced him to drop his weapon.
He was arrested and taken to the Buffalo Police Headquarters.
According to law enforcement, around 20 people watched the live stream, which lasted 30 seconds, on the Twitch broadcast app. One of the spectators immediately alerted the authorities. The Twitch page has since been removed from the provider.
In one segment of the video, the killer is heard saying to himself and his followers, “Just go,” as his car pulled up to the Tops Friendly supermarket on Saturday afternoon.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul described the mass murder as “a military-style execution against people who simply want to buy groceries at a neighborhood store.”
“It strikes us to the core that there is such evil … out there,” he said at a news conference, adding that it was his “sincere hope” that the suspect “would spend the rest of the day days behind bars. “.
Grady Lewis, an eyewitness to the shooting, told WKBW News in Buffalo that the scene was “horrific.” He saw people running and witnessed the suspect shoot people.
He said the gunman was “fully prepared and ready to go”.