'Racially-Motivated Hate Crime': Ten Killed, Three Injured in Buffalo Shooting, Suspect Charged
19:36 GMT 14.05.2022 (Updated: 03:40 GMT 15.05.2022)
© AP Photo / Joshua BessexA crowd gathers as police investigate after a shooting at a supermarket on Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Buffalo, N.Y. Multiple people were shot at the Tops Friendly Market. Police have notified the public that the alleged shooter was in custody.
© AP Photo / Joshua Bessex
Around 2:49 p.m. EDT, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tweeted that the public should avoid Tops Market on Jefferson Street in Buffalo, New York, as police were responding to the scene of an active shooting event with multiple victims.
A suspected gunman is in police custody after officers with New York's Buffalo Police Department (BPD) were called to the 1200 block of Jefferson Avenue Saturday afternoon, according to the department's official Twitter page.
At least ten people were killed and another three individuals were injured. One of those killed was the store's security guard, a retired cop who shot at the alleged assailant during the massacre. Four of the 13 individuals shot were store employees.
The suspect, identified by police as 18-year-old white male Payton Gendron, was not a Buffalo resident and allegedly traveled hours to commit the mass shooting, which was livestreamed via Twitch. His name was not immediately released to the press.
Officials held a same-day arraignment of the alleged assailant on first-degree murder charges. He has entered in a plea of not guilty and is being held without bail. The case will be going before a grand jury, with the next court proceeding being set for May 19.
Additional murder charges as well as terrorism charges are expected to follow suit as the investigation unfolds. The FBI is also carrying out a parallel hate crimes investigation with state partners.
Speaking at a news conference, Erie County Sheriff John Garcia referred to the mass shooting as a "straight-up racially-motivated hate crime."
Eyewitness Grady Lewis told CNN that he saw the alleged gunman donning what appeared to be military fatigues and a bulletproof vest when he entered the supermarket and opened fire.
"He was fully prepared and ready to go," Lewis said of the alleged gunman.
Witnesses at the scene have said that it seemed as if the perpetrator was trying to let off as many rounds as possible. Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia revealed to reporters that two officers had convinced the suspect of lowering his firearm shortly after arriving on the scene. The alleged gunman later surrendered himself to authorities without issue.
"The death of pain that families are feeling and that all of us are feeling cannot be explained," Mayor Byron Brown said during a same-day news conference.
"I am closely monitoring the shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo. We have offered assistance to local officials," tweeted New York Governor Kathy Hochul. "If you are in Buffalo, please avoid the area and follow guidance from law enforcement and local officials."
Investigators are looking into reports that the alleged gunman left behind a 106-page online manifesto that claimed he was motivated by a conspiracy theory stating that "White birth rates must change," as white people are being replaced by other races.
Jefferson Avenue is regarded as a majority Black community in east Buffalo.
Authorities are looking into pursuing a possible hate crime charge after the BPD is joined by state and federal law enforcement agencies, according to a top law enforcement official who spoke with WGRZ. Per authorities, 11 of the 13 victims were Black.
US President Joe Biden has been briefed on the incident and has issued a statement condemning the events.