An 18-year-old white man opened fire with a shotgun at a supermarket in upstate New York, killing 10 and wounding three others on Saturday in what authorities described as “racially motivated violent extremism.” Most of the victims were black.
The teenager wore military gear and streamed live with a helmet camera during the attack on Buffalo. Police said she shot 11 black and two white victims before surrendering to authorities in a rampage that she broadcast live on the Twitch streaming platform.
Later, he appeared before a judge in a paper medical gown and was charged with murder. The suspected gunman in Saturday’s attack on Tops Friendly Market was identified as Payton Gendron, of Conklin, New York, about 320 kilometers southeast of Buffalo.
The massacre caused a shockwave in an unstable nation, grappling with racial tensions, gun violence and a wave of hate crime.
President Joe Biden said in a statement that he and the first lady were praying for the victims and their families.
“We still need to know more about the motivation for today’s shooting as law enforcement does their job, but we don’t need anything else to state a clear moral truth: a racially motivated hate crime is repugnant to the very fabric of this nation, Biden said.
“Any act of domestic terrorism, including an act perpetrated in the name of a repugnant white nationalist ideology, is antithetical to everything we stand for in America.”
The gunman shot four people outside the store, three to death, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said. Inside the shop, security guard Aaron Salter, a retired Buffalo police officer, fired multiple shots. A bullet hit the gunman’s bulletproof armor but had no effect, Gramaglia said.
The gunman then killed the guard, the commissioner said, then prowled around the shop shooting other victims.
The police entered the shop and confronted the gunman in the vestibule. He put the rifle around his neck, but two officers convinced him to drop the gun, Gramaglia said.
“This is the worst nightmare any community can face, and we are suffering and seeing things right now,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at the news conference. “The depth of pain families are experiencing and all of us are experiencing right now cannot even be explained.”
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 had posted a poster online.
Erie County Sheriff John Garcia explicitly called the shooting a hate crime. “This was pure bad. It was (a) a racially motivated hate crime by someone outside our community, “he said at a news conference.
Among the dead was Ruth Whitfield, the 86-year-old mother of a retired Buffalo fire commissioner.
Officials said the rifle used by Gendron in the attack was legally purchased but that the magazines he used for ammunition could not be sold in New York.
The day before the shooting, Dallas police said they were investigating a series of shootings in Koreatown as hate crimes. The Buffalo attack occurred just a month after another mass shooting on a Brooklyn subway train injured 10 people.
The shooting occurred just over a year after a March 2021 attack on a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, which killed 10 people.