BUFFALO, NY (AP) — On Saturday afternoon, a white gunman in military gear attacked shoppers and workers at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, killing 10 people and injuring three others. Most of the victims were black. Officials said they are investigating the shooting as a racially motivated hate crime.
An overview of what we know so far:
An 18-year-old white boy wearing a bulletproof vest and broadcasting live with a helmet camera opened fire at around 2.30pm on Saturday outside Tops Friendly Market. It’s a supermarket in a predominantly black neighborhood of Buffalo.
The shooter broadcast the shooting live to a small audience on Twitch for several minutes before the platform cut its stream.
According to police, the shooter began shooting in the parking lot and then moved inside the store. Security guard Aaron Salter fired several shots but none penetrated the shooter’s armor. The shooter killed Salter, who was black, then roamed the aisles, shooting shoppers.
At one point, he pointed his gun at a white person cowering behind a checkout counter, but said “Sorry! and does not shoot, as seen in parts of the live video circulating online.
When police confronted the shooter in the vestibule of the store, he put his gun to his own neck, but surrendered and dropped the gun under the persuasion of officers.
WHO IS THE SUSPECTED SHOOTER?
Police identified the shooter as Payton Gendron, of Conklin, New York. Conklin is a small town about 200 miles southeast of Buffalo, not far from the Pennsylvania border.
Officials said the rifle Gendron used in the attack was purchased legally, but the magazines he used for ammunition were not authorized for sale in New York.
After the shooting, Gendron appeared before a judge in a paper medical gown and was arraigned for murder.
Document widely circulated online apparently describes Gendron’s racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic slurs beliefs. Among them was the desire to lead everyone not of European origin from the United States The document appears to be inspired by the shooter who killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019.
A law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Sunday that Gendron threatened to shoot Susquehanna Valley High School at graduation last year. He was 17 at the time and was sent for mental health treatment. The law enforcement official was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation and did so on condition of anonymity.
WHO ARE THE VICTIMS ?
Police have not released the names of most of the victims. They said that, including the injured, 11 victims were black and two were white.
The dead include Aaron Salter, a retired Buffalo police officer who worked as a security guard at the store. Salter fired several shots at the assailant, hitting him at least once. Officials said he was a hero who saved lives by running into danger. A local resident said he cares about the community and takes care of the store.
Ruth Whitfield, 86, was shopping after visiting her husband at a nursing home, as she did every day. She was the mother of retired Buffalo Fire Marshal Garnell Whitfield, who told The Buffalo News she was “a mother to orphans” and “a blessing to us all”. Whitfield attributed her mother’s strength and commitment to her family to her strong religious faith.
Katherine Massey was ‘a beautiful soul’ who was killed while shopping, her sister Barbara Massey has said.
Among the injured was Zaire Goodman, the son of a staffer for State Senator Tim Kennedy. The 20-year-old was shot in the neck but recovered, Kennedy said.
WHAT DO THE AUTHORITIES SAY ABOUT THE REASON?
At a press conference on Saturday, Erie County Sheriff John Garcia called the shooting a hate crime.
“It was pure evil. It was (a) racially motivated hate crime by someone outside of our community, outside of the city of good neighbors… coming into our community and trying to get us inflict this harm,” Garcia said.
The FBI is investigating the shooting as a racially motivated hate crime and violent extremism.
Authorities declined to comment on the document claiming to show the attackers racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic beliefs.