BUFALA, New York – A white 18-year-old teenager in military uniform and live broadcast with a helmet camera opened fire with a rifle in a supermarket in Buffalo, killing 10 people and injuring three others on Saturday as authorities called “violent racially motivated extremism.”
Police said he shot 11 black and two white victims before surrendering to authorities, during a riot he broadcast live on the Twitch streaming platform.
He later appeared before a judge in a paper medical gown and was charged with murder.
“I sincerely hope that this man, this supporter of white supremacy, who has just committed hate crimes against an innocent community, will spend the rest of his days behind bars. And heaven will help him in that world, ”said Governor Katie Hochul, speaking near the site of the attack.
The massacre shocked a disorganized nation plagued by racial tensions, gun violence and a flurry of hate crimes. The day before the shooting, Dallas police said they were investigating a series of shootings in Koretown as a hate crime. The attack on Buffalo came just a month after another mass shooting on a Brooklyn subway train injured 10 people.
The suspect gunman in Saturday’s attack on Tops Friendly Market was identified as Peyton Hendron of Conklin, New York, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Buffalo.
It was not immediately clear why Peyton went to Buffalo and to that particular grocery store. The clip, apparently from his Twitch tape, posted on social media, shows Hendron coming to the supermarket in his car.
A gunman shot dead four people near the store, three to death, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said. Inside the store, security guard Aaron Salter, a retired Buffalo police officer, fired several shots. The bullet hit the bulletproof armor of an armed man, but had no effect, Gramaglia said.
An armed man then killed the guard, the commissioner said, and then crept through the store, shooting at other victims.
Police entered the store and clashed with gunmen in the vestibule. He put the rifle to his own neck, but two officers persuaded him to drop the gun, Gramaglia said.
“This is the worst nightmare any community can face, and it hurts us and we are in turmoil now,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told a news conference. “The depth of pain that families are feeling and that we are feeling now is impossible to even explain.”
A Twitch statement said she stopped Hendron’s transfer “less than two minutes after the violence began.”
A law enforcement spokesman told the Associated Press that investigators were investigating whether he had posted the manifesto online. The official was not allowed to speak publicly on the matter and did so on condition of anonymity.
Buffalo police declined to comment on a document widely circulated on the Internet, which aims to outline the racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic beliefs of the attacker, including the desire to expel from the United States all people of non-European descent. It says it inspired the man who killed 51 people in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019.
At an earlier news briefing, Eri County Sheriff John Garcia clearly called the shooting a hate crime.
“It was pure evil. It was a racially motivated hate crime against someone outside our community, outside the City of Good Neighbors … who came to our community and tried to do us harm, ”Garcia said.
Among those killed was Ruth Whitfield, the 86-year-old mother of retired Buffalo Fire Commissioner.
“My mother was a mother without a mother. She was a blessing to all of us, ”former Fire Commissioner Garnel Whitfield told Buffalo News.
Witnesses Bradin Kefart and Shane Hill, both 20 years old, drove into the parking lot just as the shooter was leaving.
“He was standing with a gun to his chin. We thought what the hell was going on? Why does this child have a gun to his face? ” Said Caphart. He fell to his knees. “He tore off his helmet, dropped his gun, and the police took him away.”
Officials said the Gendron rifle used in the attack was purchased legally, but the stores he used for ammunition were banned for sale in New York City.
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 learn more about the motivation for today’s shooting as law enforcement does its job, but we don’t need anything else to state a clear moral truth: racially motivated hate crimes are disgusting to the very fabric of this nation,” he said. “Any act of domestic terrorism, including an act committed in the name of a disgusting white nationalist ideology, contradicts everything we stand for in America.”
Tops Friendly Markets issued a statement saying: “We are shocked and deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence, and our thoughts and prayers with the victims and their families.”
The shooting came just over a year after the March 2021 attack on the King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, killing 10 people. Investigators have not released any information as to why they believe the man accused of the attack targeted a supermarket.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson made a statement calling Buffalo’s shooting “absolutely devastating.”
“Hate and racism have no place in America,” he said.
Rev. El Sharpton called on the White House to convene a meeting with black, Jewish and Asian leaders to demonstrate the federal state’s commitment to combating hate crimes.
More than two hours after the shooting, Eric Pew-Matthews was waiting near the store, behind a police tape.
“We would like to know the status of my aunt, my mother’s sister. She was there with her fiancé, they parted ways and went through different aisles, ”she said. – The bullet barely missed him. He was able to hide in the freezer, but he couldn’t get to my aunt and didn’t know where she was. We just want to say anyway if she’s okay. “
Associated Press reporters Eric Tucker of Washington and Aaron Morrison of New York contributed to the report. Balsamo reported from Washington and Collins from Hartford, Connecticut.
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