An 18-year-old white man traveled hours within New York State to attack a supermarket in the city of Buffalo on Saturday, authorities said in an early evening press conference. FBI Field Agent Stephen Belongia called the case an example of “racially motivated violent extremism.” Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia described 11 of the victims as being Black and two as white. Three survived; ten died.
Two law enforcement officials identified the shooter as Payton Gendron, according to The Associated Press. He is reportedly from the town of Conklin in Broome County near Binghamton. This is about 200 miles southeast of Buffalo.
Authorities did not identify the suspect in their press conference. Erie County District Attorney John Flynn noted that an arraignment was pending for first-degree murder, but he also said he did not want to give the shooter any sense of celebrity.
According to Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia, the suspect, who he confirmed was is not from the immediate area, drove to Buffalo and arrived at around 2:30 p.m. The 18-year-old arrived at the Tops Friendly Market, he said. The suspect was heavily armed, had donned tactical gear and a helmet, and was wearing a camera that was live streaming what he was doing, the commissioner said.
The 18-year-old shot four people in the parking lot, killing three, Gramaglia said. He then walked into the store and “engaged” with customers inside the store. A security guard, who Gramaglia described as beloved, opened fire on the suspect and struck him. The round, however, did not stop the suspect due to his armor. The suspect fired back, killing the guard, Gramaglia said.
The suspect continued to make his way through the store, the commissioner said. When officers arrived, the suspect put his gun to his neck, but officers talked him out of what appeared to have been a possible suicide attempt, Gramaglia said.
The three victims who were injured seemed to have non-life threatening wounds, the authorities said. Four victims, including the guard, were employees. The other wounded employees survived.
Flynn said it did not appear that the suspect was known to law enforcement. He only said that he was from New York State in a county hours away. He obliquely said that “pieces of evidence” indicate racial animosity. At this point, it appeared that the suspect was acting alone, he said.
Law&Crime’s earlier article on the shooting is below.
There’s been a mass shooting at a Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, New York, local police and government officials said on Saturday afternoon. The Buffalo Police Department said its officers took the alleged shooter into custody.
Law enforcement sources said at least ten people were killed, according to The Associated Press.
BREAKING: BPD on scene of a mass shooting at the Tops in the 1200 block of Jefferson Avenue. Police say multiple people have been struck by gunfire. The shooter is in custody. Motorists and residents are urged to avoid the area.
— Buffalo Police Dept (@BPDAlerts) May 14, 2022
Buffalo News is reporting that a gunman in body armor and armed with a high-powered rifle killed 10 people and injured three outside and inside the supermarket. Two of the survivors are reportedly in critical condition. One of the victims was a security guard at the store, who recently retired as a Buffalo police officer, said a police source at the scene and a source close to law enforcement.
“It’s like walking onto a horror movie, but everything is real,” the police official said. “It is Armageddon-like. It is so overwhelming.”
The official also said that the shooter had a camera. Cops are reportedly investigating if he livestreamed from the scene.
The two sources said the suspect was taken into custody and put in a police vehicle.
Tops operation manager Shonnell Harris told the outlet she heard gunshots; she believed it was 70. She ran out of the store and saw the shooter. She described him as a white man in camouflage.
“He looked like he was in the Army,” she said.
Braedyn Kephart and Shane Hill told The AP they drove into the parking lot as the shooter was leaving the Tops. Like Harris, they said he was a white man in camo. In their case, they described him as being in his late teens or early twenties, with a black helmet and what seemed to be a rifle.
“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?vHe ripped off his helmet, dropped his gun, and was tackled by the police.”
This situation is developing. Officers did not publicly identify a suspect or any victims. They did not publicly detail if anyone died, but videos purportedly recorded at the scene and posted online by people in the area showed what appeared to be at least one victim laying in a parking lot. Others could be seen being put on stretchers and loaded into ambulances by rescue crews.
Police have not immediately confirmed the authenticity of videos and screenshots circulating online which purportedly indicate that the shooter livestreamed the attack.
Some of the shaky and chaotic videos only captured minor snips of the scene around the grocery store and the neighborhood.
“I am closely monitoring the shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said in a tweet. “We have offered assistance to local officials. If you are in Buffalo, please avoid the area and follow guidance from law enforcement and local officials.”
“I have been advised of an active multiple shooting event at the Tops Markets on Jefferson Street in Buffalo,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said. “Police are on scene. Please stay away from the area.”
We are at the Tops on Jefferson and are waiting for an update from #Buffalo Police. @WGRZ pic.twitter.com/Z8DTG3n5PD
— Kelly Dudzik (@kellydudzikWGRZ) May 14, 2022
Gendron appeared in court later on Saturday.
This developing story has been updated.
[Image via Facebook video screengrab]
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