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Buffalo shooter planned more killings, police commissioner says

The armed white teenager accused of killing 10 black people in a racist spree at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, would have continued to kill had he escaped, the city’s police commissioner said Monday.

The shooter, identified as 18-year-old Payton Gendron, had spoken of shooting more people at another store if he had been able to flee the Tops Friendly Market where he allegedly shot 13 people, 11 of whom were black, the commissioner said police officer Joseph Gramaglia to CNN. .

“He was going to get in his car and keep going down Jefferson Avenue and keep doing the same thing,” the Buffalo police official said.

The Saturday afternoon mayhem unfolded in a predominantly black neighborhood of the northeastern US city, an attack some authorities describe as a hate crime fueled by what they claim is rabies of the shooter versus non-whites and the racist theory that non-white immigrants move to the United States to replace whites.

Family members of Ruth Whitfield, who was killed in a shooting at a Tops supermarket, attend a press conference with attorney Ben Crump in Buffalo, New York, May 16, 2022.

Police say Gendron traveled 200 miles from his home in Conklin, New York, fired an AR-15-style rifle in the attack, wore body armor and used a helmet camera to broadcast live the carnage on the Internet.

Investigators are studying a racist 180-page document, allegedly written by Gendron, that says the assault was intended to terrorize all non-white, non-Christian people and drive them out of the United States.

Federal prosecutors have said they are considering federal hate crime charges in the case.

The mass murder was the latest in a string of them in the United States in recent years, although the first in 2022. Just as in the wake of other similar horrific scenes of violence, some American politicians have called for stricter gun control. Such calls in the past, however, have not generated meaningful changes in gun ownership, with gun rights advocates mobilizing to uphold the constitutional guarantee of gun ownership.

US President Joe Biden has lamented the Buffalo killings and plans, along with First Lady Jill Biden, to visit the city of 255,000 on Tuesday.

At the White House, the American leader paid tribute to one of the victims, the security guard and retired policeman Aaron Salter. Salter shot the attacker repeatedly, hitting his armored vest at least once before being shot and killed.

Biden said Salter “gave his life trying to save others.”

Buffalo shooter planned more killings, police commissioner says

A person brings flowers to the perimeter of the scene of a supermarket shooting, in Buffalo, NY, May 16, 2022.

Parts of a video circulating online showed the shooter killing several shoppers in less than a minute. At one point, the video shows him pointing his gun at a white person cowering behind a checkout counter, but saying, “Sorry!” and don’t shoot.

Gendron surrendered to the police who confronted him in the lobby of the supermarket. He has been indicted for murder pending further court proceedings in the coming days.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the shooting, with his spokesman saying on Sunday that Guterres was “appalled” by the “despicable act of racist violent extremism in Buffalo.”

Parts of this report come from the Associated Press.

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