A gunman in a military uniform fired a rifle at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, killing 10 people and injuring three others before being detained on Saturday afternoon in what authorities called “hate crimes and racist violent extremism.” , a law enforcement official said.
The shooter was identified as Payton Gendron in Conklin, an area about 320 kilometers southeast of Buffalo, New York, two law enforcement officers told the AP. Officials were not allowed to speak publicly on the matter and did so on condition of anonymity.
According to one official, the suspect is being questioned by the FBI on Saturday evening and is due to appear in court late Saturday, one of the officials said.
Officials said 11 of the victims were black and two were white. The shooting occurred in a predominantly black area a few miles (km) north of downtown Buffalo.
“This is the worst nightmare any community can face, and we are sick and boiling right now,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at a press conference. “I can’t even describe the depth of the pain that my family is feeling right now and the pain we are all feeling right now.”
Erie County Sheriff John Garcia added: “This was pure evil. It was a direct racially motivated hate crime in which someone outside of our community, not a City of Good neighbor… came into our community and attempted to inflict that evil on us.”
Police officials said the shooter opened fire with a rifle at Tops Friendly Market. Investigators believe he was broadcasting live footage of the shooting through a camera attached to his helmet, one of the officials said.
The video showed the shooter pointing his gun at the front seat, approaching the front of the store, pointing his gun at people in the parking lot, and getting out of the car and shooting.
The official said the suspect was also seen walking into a supermarket and shooting several other victims there. One of the victims was a recently retired police officer who was working as a security guard at the store, officials said.
NAACP president Derek Johnson said the shooting was “absolutely devastating”.
“Our hearts are with the communities and everyone affected by this horrific tragedy. Hate and racism have no place in America,” he said in a statement. I pray for you,” he added. .
Also on Saturday, Pastor Al Sharpton asked the White House to convene a meeting with blacks, Jews and Asians “to emphasize that the federal government is stepping up its efforts against hate crimes.” “Leaders of all these communities must come together on this issue,” Sharpton tweeted.
Witnesses said the shooter was wearing a military uniform other than a body armor and helmet, one of the police officials told the Associated Press.
Braedyn Kephart and Shane Hill, both 20 years old, pulled into a parking lot as the shooter left. They described him as a white male in his late teens or early 20s, wearing what appeared to be a black helmet and rifle.
“He was standing there with a gun to his chin. What the hell are we doing? Why is this kid pointing a gun in his face?” Kepart said. He knelt down on his knees. “He took off his helmet, dropped his gun and was tackled by the police.”
At the White House, spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden was receiving regular updates about the shooting and its aftermath.
“The president was briefed this afternoon by his homeland security adviser regarding the horrific shootings in Buffalo, New York. He will continue to receive updates throughout the evening and tomorrow as additional information develops,” she said. We pray for the victims and their loved ones.
A representative of Top-Friendly Market said, “I am deeply saddened by this meaningless act of violence, and I think and pray with the victims and their families.”
Police closed blocks lined with spectators and yellow police tape surrounded the entire parking lot. Mayor Brown and Erie County Administrator Mark Poloncarz were on the scene late Saturday afternoon and were due to gather in the parking lot across the street from the Tops store to speak to the press.
More than two hours had passed since the shooting, but Erica Pugh-Mathews was waiting outside the store behind police tapes.
“We would like to know the status of my aunt, my mother’s sister. She was there with her fiance, and they parted ways,” she said. “The bullet barely missed him. He could hide in the freezer but we couldn’t get to her aunt and we don’t know where she is. We’d like to talk either way if she’s okay with it.”
Governor Kathy Hochul tweeted that he was closely monitoring the shooting at a grocery store in his hometown of Buffalo. She said her state officials provided assistance to local authorities. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office said via social media it had ordered all available staff to assist the Buffalo Police Department.
Attorney General Anthony Coley said Attorney General Merrick Garland was briefed about the shooting.
The shooting occurred less than a year after the March 2021 attack on a King Super Grocery Store in Boulder, Colorado, in which 10 people were killed. Investigators have not released information on why they believe the suspect in the attack targeted the supermarket.