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10 killed in ‘racially motivated’ mass shooting at Buffalo supermarket, FBI says

Ten people were killed and three others injured when a man opened fire at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, authorities said on Saturday. Police say the shooter, who is currently in custody, has been charged with murder in what authorities are calling a hate crime and racially motivated violent extremism case.

“It was pure evil,” Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said. “This was a racially motivated hate crime committed by someone outside of our community.”

At around 2:30 p.m., an 18-year-old white male exited his vehicle at a Tops Friendly Market, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said at a news conference. The suspect was “very heavily armed” and wearing a tactical helmet and gear, Gramaglia said. Police said he also had a camera and was live streaming the shooting.

The suspect shot four people in the parking lot, killing three, before entering the store, he said. Once he entered, he met a “beloved” retired Buffalo policeman who worked in the store as a security guard. The guard fired several shots that hit the suspect, but they didn’t hit him due to his tactical gear, Gramaglia said. The suspect then killed the guard, who has not been named.

The suspect eventually returned to the store and met with police, Gramaglia said. He put a gun to his neck when he saw police, but officers convinced him to put it down and turn himself in, Gramaglia said. He was then taken into custody.

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said the suspect, Payton Gendron, has been charged with first-degree murder, the most serious murder charge under New York law. Gendron pleaded not guilty.

The charge carries a sentence of life imprisonment without parole. A felony hearing is scheduled for May 19.

Flynn said Saturday night that his office is currently investigating possible terrorism charges and other murder charges. At an earlier press conference, Flynn said the suspect, who allegedly used an assault weapon in the shooting, was not known to law enforcement.

Flynn said Gendron was from Conklin, New York, which is about a three and a half hour drive from Buffalo. Officials said it was not yet clear why he chose this location.

10 killed in ‘racially motivated’ mass shooting at Buffalo supermarket, FBI says
A crowd gathers as police investigate after a shooting that killed multiple people at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, NY on Saturday, May 14, 2022. Police say the suspected shooter is in custody.

Joshua Bessex/AP

Stephen Belongia, special agent in charge of the FBI’s field office in Buffalo, said the case was considered a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism. Officials did not go into specifics about why they made the decision, but said the evidence points to some “racial animosity”.

A police source told CBS News that the suspect allegedly shouted racial slurs during the shooting. A source also said the shooter had a racial slur written on his gun. The suspect is believed to have posted a hateful manifesto online with racist language.

“We will not stop until every lead has been investigated, every piece of evidence has been analyzed and until we understand how and why this horrific tragedy and this crime occurred,” Belongia said, noting that the FBI is conducting an investigation that will run alongside the state probe.

Officials said at the press conference that 11 of the 13 victims were African Americans. Four, including one of the dead, were store employees.

NAACP President Derrick Johnson called the shooting “absolutely devastating.”

“Hate and racism have no place in America,” he said in a statement. “We are shocked, extremely angry and praying for the families and loved ones of the victims, as well as the whole community.”

Several people killed in a shooting at the Buffalo supermarket


New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a native of Buffalo, said the state has offered assistance to local officials and asked people to stay away from the area. Speaking on Saturday night, she called the suspect a white supremacist and said the shooting was an “act of terrorism”.

Hochul also called on social media platforms to be more vigilant in monitoring content. “The fact that this act of barbarism, this execution of innocent human beings can be broadcast live on social media platforms and not be taken down in a second, tells me there is accountability there,” Hochul said. “And we’re going to continue to work on that and make sure those who provide these platforms have a moral and ethical responsibility and hopefully a legal responsibility to make sure that such hate can’t populate these sites. Because that’s the result.”

Hochul also said Friday night that the suspect obtained his gun legally, but made illegal modifications.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul Slams Buffalo Supermarket Shooting as ‘White Supremacist Terrorism’


Police have released no information about the casualties, but New York State Senator Tim Kennedy said one of his employees’ children was shot.

“Tonight a member of my staff, my extended family, is at ECMC when they should be home,” Kennedy said. “She’s sitting in a hospital waiting room, because her beautiful, extraordinary son was shot dead while he was just doing his job.”

“To say I’m heartbroken tonight doesn’t even do it justice. I’m devastated. I’m angry. And thinking of the families who won’t be welcoming a loved one tonight,” Kennedy added. “All because an individual filled with pure evil made a calculated decision to senselessly take innocent lives.”

Tops Friendly Markets said in a statement it was “shocked and deeply saddened” by the shooting.

“Our top priority remains the health and well-being of our associates and customers,” the supermarket said. “We appreciate the prompt response from local law enforcement and are providing all available resources to assist authorities with the ongoing investigation.”

The Buffalo incident is the latest high-profile mass shooting motivated by what authorities say is racial hatred. In 2020, the FBI raised its assessment of the threat posed by racially motivated violent extremists in the United States for a “national threat priority”, on par with the level of threat posed to the country by foreign terrorist organizations. FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress in November 2019 that the majority of these attacks were “fueled by some kind of white supremacy.”

Pat Milton and Andres Triay contributed reporting.


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