An 18-year-old white man opened fire with a rifle at a supermarket in New York state, killing 10 people and wounding three others on Saturday in what authorities described as “racially motivated violent extremism.” Most of the victims were black.
The teen was wearing military gear and broadcasting live on a helmet camera at the attack in Buffalo. Police said he shot 11 black and two white victims before turning himself in to authorities in a rampage that he streamed live on the streaming platform Twitch.
Later, he appeared before a judge in a paper medical gown and was charged with murder. The suspected gunman in Saturday’s attack at Tops Friendly Market was identified as Payton Gendron, of Conklin, New York, about 200 miles southeast of Buffalo.
The massacre shocked an unstable nation gripped by racial tensions, gun violence and a series of hate crimes.
President Joe Biden said in a statement that he and the first lady were praying for the victims and their families.
“We still need to learn more about the motivation for today’s shooting as law enforcement goes about their business, but we don’t need anything else to state a clear moral truth: A racially motivated hate crime is abhorrent to the very fabric of this nation. . Biden said.
“Any act of domestic terrorism, including an act perpetrated in the name of a repugnant white nationalist ideology, is antithetical to everything we stand for in America.”
The gunman shot four people outside the store, three fatally, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said. Inside the store, security guard Aaron Salter, a retired Buffalo police officer, fired multiple shots. One bullet hit the gunman’s body armor but had no effect, Gramaglia said.
The gunman then killed the guard, the commissioner said, and then went through the store and shot other victims.
Police entered the store and confronted the gunman in the lobby. He put his rifle to his own neck, but two officers convinced him to drop the gun, Gramaglia said.
“This is the worst nightmare any community can face, and we’re hurting and we’re seeing things 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.”
Twitch said in a statement that it ended Gendron’s stream “less than two minutes after the violence began.”
A law enforcement official told The Associated Press that investigators were looking into whether he had posted a manifesto online.
Erie County Sheriff John Garcia pointedly called the shooting a hate crime. “This was pure evil. It was (a) a directly racially motivated hate crime from someone outside of our community,” he said at a news conference.
Among the dead was Ruth Whitfield, the 86-year-old mother of a retired Buffalo fire commissioner.
Authorities said the rifle Gendron used in the attack was purchased legally, but the magazines he used as ammunition could not be sold in New York.
The day before the shooting, Dallas police said they were investigating a series of Koreatown shootings as hate crimes. The Buffalo attack came just a month after another mass shooting on a Brooklyn subway train injured 10 people.
The shooting comes just over a year after a March 2021 attack at a King Soopers supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, that killed 10 people.