Buffalo Shot: Racially Motivated Attack. 18-year-old Broome County shooter
Update: Buffalo shooting: 18-year-old Broome County youth charged, more details emerge about him
Buffalo, NY – An 18-year-old man drove for hours from a county in New York state before opening fire on a Buffalo supermarket in what police and high-ranking government officials are calling an attack on racial motivation which resulted in 10 deaths.
The shooter – sporting a rifle and body armor – shot 13 people at Tops Friendly Market on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo before being arrested on Saturday afternoon, law enforcement officials say.
The shooter was identified as Payton Gendron, of Conklin, about 200 miles southeast of Buffalo, two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press. The officials were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter and did so on condition of anonymity.
Gendron, who was due for arrest Saturday night, is white and 11 of the 13 victims were black, law enforcement officials said at a news conference late Saturday afternoon. He should be charged with 1st degree murder.
The shooter live-streamed his attack on the grocery store, authorities said. He would also have left a racist manifesto.
“This was a racially motivated hate crime,” Erie County Sheriff John C. Garcia said. “That person was pure evil.”
The supermarket is in a 79 percent black neighborhood about three miles north of downtown Buffalo. The surrounding area is mostly residential, with a Family Dollar store and a fire station near the store.
“We currently have evidence in custody that shows there is a racial component to these actions,” Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn said.
He said the evidence indicated the shooter was motivated by “racial animosity”.
Stephen Belongia, who heads a local branch of the FBI, said the agency was investigating it “as both a hate crime and racially motivated violent extremism”.
At around 2:30 p.m., the man exited his vehicle with an assault rifle and tactical gear, and shot four people in the parking lot of the grocery store, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph A. Gramaglia said during the the press conference. Three people died and one person survived.
The man entered the store and began shooting at customers and staff, he said.
A security guard, a retired Buffalo police officer, fired several shots and hit the shooter, but the bullets did not penetrate the shooter’s heavy armor. The man shot and killed the security guard, Gramaglia said.
The shooter continued through the store shooting customers.
He returned to the front of the store where Buffalo police officers arrested him in the vestibule. The shooter then pointed the gun at his own neck.
Officers persuaded the shooter to drop the gun and the shooter put the gun down, removed some of his armor and surrendered.
He was arrested and taken to Buffalo Police Headquarters.
“This is a tragic incident by someone who is not part of our community, who does not live here,” Gramaglia said.
Tops Friendly Markets issued a statement: “We are shocked and deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”
Police sealed off the block, lined with onlookers, and yellow police surrounded the entire parking lot.
Governor Kathy Hochul tweeted that she was “closely monitoring the grocery store shooting in Buffalo,” her hometown. She said state officials have offered assistance to local authorities.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz also expressed their condolences at Saturday night’s press conference.
“We are hurting and bubbling right now as a community,” Brown said. “It is a day of great pain.”
Writer James McClendon covers breaking news, crime and public safety. Any advice, an idea for an article, a question or a comment? Contact him at 914-204-2815 or [email protected].