10 dead in Buffalo supermarket attack police call hate crime, suspect arraigned

A white 18-year-old wearing military gear shot 11 Black and two white victims before surrendering to authorities in a rampage he broadcast live on the streaming platform Twitch, authorities said.

SHARE 10 dead in Buffalo supermarket attack police call hate crime, suspect arraigned
Police secure an area around a supermarket where several people were killed in a shooting, Saturday, May 14, 2022 in Buffalo, N.Y.

Police secure an area around a supermarket where several people were killed in a shooting, Saturday in Buffalo, N.Y.

Derek Gee / The Buffalo News via AP

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A white 18-year-old wearing military gear and livestreaming with a helmet camera opened fire with a rifle at a supermarket in Buffalo, killing 10 people and wounding three others Saturday in what authorities described as “racially motivated violent extremism.”

Police said he shot 11 Black and two white victims before surrendering to authorities in a rampage he broadcast live on the streaming platform Twitch.

Later, he appeared before a judge in a paper medical gown and was arraigned on a murder charge.

“It is my sincere hope that this individual, this white supremacist who just perpetrated a hate crime on an innocent community, will spend the rest of his days behind bars. And heaven help him in the next world as well,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said, speaking near the scene of the attack.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks at a news conference after a shooting Saturday at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks at a news conference after a shooting Saturday at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y.

Joshua Bessex / AP

The massacre sent shockwaves through an unsettled nation gripped with racial tensions, gun violence and a spate of hate crimes.

In the day prior to the shooting, Dallas police said they were investigating a series of shootings in Koreatown as hate crimes. And the Buffalo attack came one month after another mass shooting on a Brooklyn subway train wounded 10 people.

The suspected gunman in Saturday’s attack on Tops Friendly Market was identified as Payton Gendron, of Conklin, New York, which is about 200 miles southeast of Buffalo.

It wasn’t clear why Payton had traveled to Buffalo and that particular grocery store.

A clip apparently from his Twitch feed, posted on social media, showed Gendron arriving at the supermarket in his car.

The gunman shot four people outside the store, killing three of them, according to Buffalo police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia.

Inside the store, security guard Aaron Salter, a retired Buffalo police officer, fired multiple shots. A bullet hit the gunman’s bulletproof armor but had no effect, Gramaglia said.

The gunman killed the guard, the commissioner said, then stalked through the store, shooting others.

Police entered the store and confronted the gunman in the vestibule. He put his rifle to his own neck, but two officers talked him into dropping the gun, Gramaglia said.

“This is the worst nightmare that any community can face, and we are hurting and we are seething right now,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at the news conference. “The depth of pain that families are feeling and that all of us are feeling right now cannot even be explained.”

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown speaks during a news conference after a shooting Saturday at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown speaks during a news conference after a shooting Saturday at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y.

Joshua Bessex / AP

A written statement from Twitch’s operators said it ended Gendron’s transmission “less than two minutes after the violence started.”

A law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said investigators were looking into whether he had posted a manifesto online.

Buffalo police declined to comment on the document, circulated widely online, that purports to outline the attacker’s racist, anti-immigrant and antisemitic beliefs, including a desire to drive all people not of European descent from the United States. It said he drew inspiration the man who killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019.

Earlier, Erie County Sheriff John Garcia called the shooting a hate crime.

“This was pure evil,” Garcia said, a “straight-up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community, outside of the City of Good Neighbors ... coming in to our community and trying to inflict that evil upon us.”

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

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

Witnesses Braedyn Kephart and Shane Hill, both 20, pulled in to the parking lot just as the shooter was exiting.

“He was standing there with the gun to his chin,” Kephart said. “We were, like, what the heck is going on? Why does this kid have a gun to his face?”

He dropped to his knees, Kephart said, and then, “He ripped off his helmet, dropped his gun and was tackled by the police.”

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

The shooting came little more than a year after a March 2021 attack at a King Soopers grocery in Boulder, Colorado, that killed 10 people. Investigators have not released any information about why they believe the man charged in that attack targeted the supermarket.

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

“We would like to know the status of my aunt, my mother’s sister. She was in there with her fiancé, they separated and went to different aisles,” she said. “A bullet barely missed him. He was able to hide in a freezer, but he was not able to get to my aunt and does not know where she is. We just would like word either way if she’s OK.”

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