Police said Payton Gendron 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, will spend the rest of his days behind bars. And heaven help him in the next world too,” said Gov. Kathy Hochul, speaking near the site of the attack. “It breaks our hearts to know that there is so much evil out there.”
CLOCK | Gov. Kathy Hochul delivers remarks from Buffalo
Hochul plans to attend church services on Sunday morning in the predominantly African-American neighborhood where the shooting took place.
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 southeast of Buffalo.
Investigators believe that prior to the mass shooting, Gendron posted a 180-page document online detailing a plan for the attack and his support for several mass murderers.
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.
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, which killed 51 people in 2019 in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
At the earlier news conference, Erie County Sheriff John Garcia specifically called the shooting a hate crime.
“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.
CLOCK | Officials keep update on Buffalo shooting
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 wondering 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 the 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 don’t need anything else 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.
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 get to my aunt and doesn’t know where she is. We’d just like to know 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.
Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
https://abc13.com/buffalo-shooting-payton-gendron-in-ny-shooter/11852123/ Shooting in Buffalo, New York leaves 10 dead in an attack on a supermarket police say is a hate crime