BUFFALO, NY — Officials say ten people were killed and three others were injured Saturday afternoon in a shooting at a Buffalo supermarket.
The suspect, described as an 18-year-old white male, is in custody. Police did not say where the suspect was from, but they said he was not from the Buffalo area and had traveled ‘hours’ to carry out the shooting at Tops Friendly Market on Jefferson Ave.
The supermarket is in a predominantly black neighborhood about 3 miles north of downtown Buffalo. The surrounding area is mostly residential, with a Family Dollar store and a fire station near the store.
The FBI is investigating the shooting as a hate crime and radically motivated violent extremism.
“It was pure evil. It was a racially motivated hate crime,” Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said.
According to police officials, at around 2:30 p.m. the suspect exited a vehicle in the parking lot of the supermarket. Police said he was heavily armed and wearing tactical gear, including a helmet with a camera he used to live-stream the shooting.
The suspect allegedly shot four people in the parking lot. Three of these victims died on the spot. One was injured but survived.
According to police, the suspect then entered and began shooting at customers.
Police say a retired Buffalo policeman who was employed as a security guard exchanged gunfire with the suspect and punched him but, due to the suspect’s tactical gear, was unable to pull it off. ‘Stop. The suspect then allegedly shot and killed the security guard.
According to police, the suspect made his way through the rest of the store, eventually returning to the supermarket.
Buffalo police then engaged the suspect in the store’s vestibule. The suspect allegedly put a gun to his own neck, but officers convinced the suspect to drop the gun.
According to police, the suspect then removed some of the tactical gear and surrendered.
A total of 13 people were killed. Ten victims were pronounced dead at the scene. Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said the other three victims suffered injuries that did not appear to be life threatening.
Four of the victims were store employees, including the security guard. The other victims were customers.
Eleven of the victims are African American and two are white.
Tops Friendly Markets issued 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.”
Governor Kathy Hochul tweeted that she was traveling to Buffalo to help with the response, adding, “My heart breaks for the families of the victims and for everyone affected by this horrific and despicable act of violence.”
At the White House, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden receives regular updates on the shooting and its aftermath.
“The President was briefed by his Homeland Security Advisor on the horrific shooting in Buffalo, NY, this afternoon. He will continue to receive updates throughout the evening and tomorrow as new information will develop,” she said, adding that the president and first lady were praying for the victims and their loved ones.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has been briefed on the shooting, Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said.
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 on why they believe the man accused of the attack targeted the supermarket.
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