Buffalo shooting: 18-year-old white youth traveled to predominantly black area and killed 10 people in supermarket, authorities say
Eleven of the people who were shot at the Tops Friendly Markets store were black, and authorities say they believe the mass shooting was racially motivated.
The victims included a former Buffalo police lieutenant working as a security guard and the 86-year-old mother of Buffalo’s retired fire marshal, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said. Two people remain hospitalized in stable condition, an Erie County Medical Center spokesperson said Saturday night.
The suspect drove to the Buffalo supermarket from Conklin, New York, about 200 miles away, and was livestreaming while he carried out the shooting, authorities said.
Payton S. Gendron used an assault rifle to kill three people outside the supermarket and seven others inside, officials said. He eventually surrendered to the police and was taken into custody.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul told CNN investigators believe the suspect searched the area and “targeted the busiest spot at one of the busiest times.”
“It was targeted by zip code,” Hochul said. “It was the highest concentration of African Americans in a few hours.”
Indeed, in the manifesto, the author says the supermarket was in a postcode that “has the highest percentage of black people that’s pretty close to where I live.”
The zip code that includes the store, 14208, is 78% black, according to the US Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey. This is the highest percentage of black population of any zip code in upstate New York. In comparison, the 13748 postcode, which includes Gendron’s hometown of Conklin, is 89% white and 0.4% black.
How did the filming go
At around 2:30 p.m., the suspect drove to Tops Friendly Markets near the predominantly black neighborhoods of Masten Park and Kingsley, authorities said.
Wearing tactical gear and armed with an assault weapon, the suspect allegedly shot and killed three people in the parking lot and injured a fourth, according to a statement from Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn.
The suspect then entered the store and exchanged fire with an armed security guard who was a retired member of the Buffalo Police Department, the district attorney said. The guard has been identified as Aaron Salter, Mayor Brown said.
However, because the suspect was wearing heavy tactical gear, the guard’s bullets had no effect, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Saturday.
“He was very heavily armed,” the police commissioner said. “He had tactical gear, he had a tactical helmet, he had a camera that he was live streaming what he was doing.”
Inside the store, nine people were shot before the suspect was apprehended by police, according to the district attorney’s statement.
In a statement sent to CNN, live-streaming service Twitch confirmed the footage was broadcast and said the user “has been indefinitely suspended from our service, and we are taking all appropriate action, including monitoring of any account reposting this content”.
“He got out, he put the gun to his head, to his chin. Then he dropped it and took off his bulletproof vest, then got on all fours and put his hands behind his back “said Lewis, describing the times the suspect was arrested by police. “I thought they were going to shoot him but they didn’t shoot him.”
“I still don’t believe it happened…that a person walked into a supermarket full of people,” he said. “It was awful, it was really awful.”
Tops Friendly Markets released a statement on Sunday saying it was heartbroken by the violence. “Tops has been committed to this community and the City of Buffalo for decades and this tragedy will not change that commitment,” the company said.
Suspect used an illegally modified assault rifle
Gov. Hochul says an AR-15 used in the shooting was purchased legally from a New York state gun store, but was illegally modified with a high-capacity magazine .
“What has made this so deadly and so devastating to this community is the high capacity magazine that should have been purchased elsewhere, which is not legal in New York State,” he said. she stated.
Hochul also told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that the suspect was “on the radar” for law enforcement.
“Just like a high school student compared to something he wrote in high school that was under scrutiny at the time by medical authorities,” she said. “But I will investigate this matter, George. I want to know what people knew, and when they knew it, and appeal to our law enforcement as well as our social media platforms.”
Brown told CNN the suspect monitored both the community and the grocery store as part of the planning for his attack.
“Looks like he’s been here for maybe several days from the reports I’ve heard that he’s been scouting this community, scouting the supermarket, actually talking to some people in the area,” Brown told CNN.
After the shooting, investigators obtained “some evidence” that “indicates some racial animosity” from the suspect, Flynn said at a Saturday news conference.
“I’m not going to… elaborate on what exactly they are right now, but we have evidence in custody right now that shows there is a racial component to it,” Flynn said.
The 180-page manifesto, independently obtained by CNN shortly after the attack and before authorities released the suspect’s name, was allegedly written by a person claiming to be Payton Gendron confessing to the attack.
The author of the manifesto says he bought ammunition for a while but did not take planning for the attack seriously until January. The author continues on his perceptions of the decreasing size of the white population and the claims of ethnic and cultural replacement of whites.
CNN’s Samantha Beech, Tina Burnside, Haley Burton, Gregory Clary, Phil Gast, Jamiel Lynch, Christina Maxouris, Artemis Moshtaghian, Sharif Paget, Shimon Prokupecz, Sabrina Shulman, Brian Stelter and Emma Tucker contributed to this report.