10 dead at a Buffalo supermarket attack police as a hate crime

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Police said he shot and killed 11 black and two white victims before surrendering to authorities in a killing spree he live-streamed on streaming platform Twitch.

People hug outside the scene following a shooting at a supermarket on Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Buffalo, NY

BUFFALO, NY (AP) — A white 18-year-old man in military gear and live streaming with a helmet camera opened fire with a rifle at a Buffalo supermarket Saturday, killing 10 people and injuring three others in what authorities described as “racially motivated.” violent extremism.”

Police said he shot and killed 11 black and two white victims before surrendering to authorities in a killing spree he live-streamed on streaming platform Twitch.

He later appeared before a judge in a paper doctor’s coat and was charged with murder.

“I sincerely hope that this individual, this white supremacist who just committed a hate crime against an innocent community, spends the rest of his days behind bars. And heaven help him in the next world too,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said, speaking near the scene of the crime.

The massacre sent shockwaves through an unsettled nation riddled with racial tensions, gun violence and a spate of hate crimes. The day before the shooting, Dallas police said they were investigating a series of shootings in Koreatown as hate crimes. The attack in Buffalo came just a month after another mass shooting on a Brooklyn subway left 10 people injured.

The suspected shooter in Saturday’s Tops Friendly Market attack has been identified as Payton Gendron of Conklin, New York, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Buffalo.

It wasn’t immediately clear why Payton had traveled to Buffalo and to that particular grocery store. A clip, apparently taken from his Twitch feed and posted to social media, showed Gendron arriving at the supermarket in his car.

The gunman shot four people outside the store, three fatally, said Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia. Inside the store, security guard Aaron Salter, a retired Buffalo police officer, fired several shots. A bullet struck the gunman’s bulletproof armor but had no effect, Gramaglia said.

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Payton Gendron appears during his arraignment in Buffalo City Court on Saturday, May 14, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. Gendron was charged with first-degree murder and detained without bail. Police officials said the 18-year-old was wearing body armor and military-style clothing when he stopped at a Tops Friendly Market and opened fire on people. (Mark Mulville/The Buffalo News via AP)

The gunman then killed the guard, the commissioner said, and then strutted through the store shooting more victims.

Police entered the store and confronted the shooter in the anteroom. He put his 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 we are suffering and seething right now,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at the news conference. “The depth of pain that families are feeling and that we are all feeling right now cannot even be explained.”

Twitch said in a statement that it ended Gendron’s broadcast “less than two minutes after the violence began.”

A law enforcement official told The Associated Press that investigators were looking into whether he posted a manifesto online. The official was not allowed to comment publicly on the matter and did so on condition of anonymity.

Buffalo police declined to comment on the widely circulated document, which is said to outline the attacker’s racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic beliefs, including a desire to evict all people of non-European descent from the United States. He said he was inspired by the man who killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019.

At the earlier news conference, Erie County Sheriff John Garcia specifically called the shooting a hate crime.

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People gather outside a supermarket where several people were killed in a shooting Saturday May 14, 2022 in Buffalo, NY. Officials said the gunman entered the supermarket with a gun and opened fire. Investigators believe the man may have live-streamed the shooting and checked if he posted a manifesto online (Derek Gee/The Buffalo News via AP).

“It was pure evil. It was (a) a racially motivated hate crime by someone outside of our community, outside of the town of good neighbors … who came into our community and tried to do this evil to us,” Garcia said.

Among the dead was Ruth Whitfield, the 86-year-old mother of a retired Buffalo fire commissioner.

“My mother was the mother of the motherless. She’s been a blessing to all of us,” former Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield told the Buffalo News.

Witnesses Braedyn Kephart and Shane Hill, both 20, pulled into the parking lot just as the gunman emerged.

“He stood there with the gun to his chin. We were like, what the hell is going on? Why does that boy have a gun in his face?” said Kephart. He fell to his knees. “He ripped off his helmet, dropped his gun and was attacked by police.”

Officials said the Gendron rifle used in the attack was legally purchased, but the magazines he used for ammunition were not allowed to be sold in New York.

President Joe Biden said in a statement he and the first lady are praying for the victims and their families.

“We still need to learn more about the motivation for today’s shooting while law enforcement goes about its business, but we need no more to state a stark moral truth: A racially motivated hate crime is abhorrent to the very fabric of this nation. he said. “Any act of domestic terrorism, including an act committed in the name of a repugnant white nationalist ideology, is contrary to everything we stand for in America.”

Tops Friendly Markets released 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.”

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 as to why they believe the man charged in this attack targeted the supermarket.

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Police walk past a small memorial while investigating a shooting at a supermarket Saturday, May 14, 2022 in Buffalo, NY (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

NAACP President Derrick Johnson issued a statement calling the Buffalo shooting “absolutely devastating.”

“Hate and racism have no place in America,” he said.

Rev. Al Sharpton called on the White House to call a meeting with Black, Jewish and Asian leaders to demonstrate federal commitment to fighting hate crimes.

More than two hours after the shooting, Erica Pugh-Mathews waited outside the store behind police tape.

“We would like to know the status of my aunt, my mother’s sister. She was there with her fiancé, they broke up and went into different aisles,” she said. “A bullet just missed him. He was able to hide in a freezer but he couldn’t reach my aunt and doesn’t know where she is. We’d just like a message if she’s okay.”

Associated Press reporters Eric Tucker in Washington and Aaron Morrison in New York City contributed to this report. Balsamo reported from Washington and Collins from Hartford, Connecticut.

https://www.boston.com/news/crime/2022/05/15/10-dead-in-buffalo-supermarket-attack-police-call-hate-crime/ 10 dead at a Buffalo supermarket attack police as a hate crime

Rick Schindler

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