A gunman in military uniform opened fire with an assault rifle at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, in what authorities called “hate crimes and racially motivated violent extremism “, killing 10 people and wounding 3 others before being taken into custody Saturday afternoon. , law enforcement officials said.
The gunman was identified as Payton Gendron of Conklin, a community about 200 miles (320 km) southeast of Buffalo in New York state, two law enforcement officials told the Associated Press. Officials are not authorized to speak publicly about the matter and did so on condition of anonymity.
One of the officials said the suspect was questioned by the FBI on Saturday night and is expected to appear in court later Saturday.
Officials said 11 of the victims were Black and two white. The shooting happened in a predominantly Black neighborhood a few miles (km) north of downtown Buffalo.
“This is the worst nightmare any community can face, and we’re traumatized and we’re boiling right now,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at a rally. Press Conference. “The depth of pain that families are feeling and all of us are feeling right now cannot even be explained.”
Erie County Sheriff John Garcia added, “This is an outright crime. It’s a racially motivated hate crime straight up from someone outside of our community, outside of everyday people. Neighbors of the Good City … infiltrated our community and tried to commit that crime. us.”
Police officials said the gunman opened fire with an assault rifle at the Tops Friendly Market. Investigators believe he may have live-streamed the shooting through a camera mounted on his helmet, one of the officials said.
The video shows the gunman pulling up to the front of the store with a rifle in the front seat and then pointing the gun at people in the parking lot as he got out of his vehicle and opened fire, the official said.
It also showed the suspect entering the supermarket and shooting several other victims inside, the official said. One of the victims was a recently retired police officer who was working as a security guard at the store, the official said.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson called the shooting “absolutely devastating.”
“Our hearts go out to the community and to all who have been affected by this terrible tragedy. Hate and racism have no place in America. We are heartbroken, deeply angry. and prayers for the family and loved ones of the victim,” he added in a statement.
Also on Saturday, Father Al Sharpton called on the White House to convene a meeting with Blacks, Jews and Asians “to emphasize that the Federal government (is) escalating its efforts to combat hate crimes. ” In a tweet, Sharpton said that “the leaders of all these communities should stand together on this issue!”
Witnesses said the gunman was wearing military-style clothing next to body armor and a helmet, one of the law enforcement officials told the AP.
Braedyn Kephart and Shane Hill, both 20, pulled into the parking lot just as the shooter was walking out. They described him as a Caucasian male in his late or early twenties, wearing full camo clothing, a black helmet and what appeared to be a rifle.
“He was standing there with a gun to his chin. We were like what the hell is going on? Why is this kid holding a gun to his face?” Kephart said. He knelt down. “He tore off his helmet, dropped his gun, and was dealt with by the police.”
At the White House, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden is receiving regular updates on the shooting and its aftermath.
“The President was briefed by his Homeland Security adviser about the horrific shooting in Buffalo, NY, this afternoon. He will continue to receive updates throughout the evening and tomorrow.” as more information becomes available,” she said, adding the president and first lady. Praying for the victims and their loved ones.
Tops Friendly Markets released a statement saying, “We are shocked and deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. surname.”
Police closed the compound, lined up by spectators, and yellow police tape surrounded the full parking lot. Mayor Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz were on the scene Saturday afternoon, gathered in a parking lot across from the Tops store, and are expected to speak to the media.
More than two hours after the shooting, Erica Pugh-Mathews was waiting outside the store, behind the police tape.
“We wanted to know the condition of my aunt, my mother’s sister. She was there with her fiancé, they were separated and went different paths,” she said. “A bullet barely hit him. He could hide in the freezer but couldn’t get to my aunt and didn’t know where she was. We just wanted to tell somehow if she was okay. .”
Governor Kathy Hochul tweeted that she was “closely monitoring the shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo,” her hometown. She said state officials have offered to help local governments. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office said on social media that it has ordered all staff present to assist Buffalo police.
Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said Attorney General Merrick Garland was notified of the shooting.
The shooting comes just over a year after the March 2021 attack at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, that left 10 people dead. Investigators have not released any information as to why they believe the man charged in that attack targeted the supermarket.