Police said he shot and killed 11 black and two white victims before turning himself in to authorities in a rampage he broadcast live on the Twitch streaming platform.
He later appeared before a judge in a paper medical gown and was arraigned for murder.
“I sincerely hope that this individual, this white supremacist who has just committed a hate crime against an innocent community, will spend the rest of his life behind bars. And heaven help him in the next world as well,” he said. said Governor Kathy Hochul, speaking near the scene of the attack.
The massacre sent shockwaves through a volatile nation plagued by racial tensions, gun violence and a wave of hate crimes. The day before the shooting, Dallas police said they were investigating a series of shootings in Koreatown as hate crimes. The Buffalo attack came just a month after another mass shooting on a Brooklyn subway train injured 10 people.
The suspected shooter in Saturday’s attack on the Tops Friendly Market has been identified as Payton Gendron, of Conklin, New York, about 200 miles southeast of Buffalo.
It was not immediately clear why Payton had traveled to Buffalo and this particular grocery store. A clip apparently from his Twitch stream, posted on social media, showed Gendron arriving at the supermarket in his car.
The shooter shot four people outside the store, three of them fatally, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said. Inside the store, a security guard who was a retired Buffalo police officer fired several shots, but a bullet that hit the shooter’s body armor had no effect, added Gramaglia.
The shooter then killed the guard, the commissioner said, then walked through the store shooting other victims.
“This is the worst nightmare any community can face, and we’re hurting and bubbling right now,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at the press conference. “The depth of pain the families are feeling and that we are all feeling right now cannot even be explained.”
Police entered the store and confronted the shooter in the vestibule.
“At that point, the suspect put the gun to his own neck,” Gramaglia said. Two officers convinced him to drop the gun, the commissioner said.
Twitch said in a statement that it ended Gendron’s broadcast “less than two minutes after the violence began.”
At the previous press conference, Erie County Sheriff John Garcia called the shooting a hate crime.
“It was pure evil. It was (a) 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.
Witnesses Braedyn Kephart and Shane Hill, both 20, pulled into the parking lot as the shooter exited. They described a white male in his late teens or early twenties wearing full camouflage, a black helmet and a rifle.
“He was standing there with the gun to his chin. We were like what’s going on? Why does this kid have a gun to his face? Kephart said. He fell to his knees. “He ripped off his helmet, dropped his gun and was tackled by the police.”
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.
President Joe Biden said in a statement that he and the first lady are praying for the victims and their families.
“We still need to know more about the motivation for today’s shooting as law enforcement does their job, but we don’t need anything else to state a clear moral truth. : a racially motivated hate crime is abhorrent to the very fabric of this nation,” he said. “Any act of domestic terrorism, including an act perpetrated in the name of a repugnant white nationalist ideology, is contrary to everything we stand for in America.”
Tops Friendly Markets issued a statement saying, “We are shocked and deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”
The shooting came just over a year after a March 2021 attack on a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado that killed 10 people. Investigators have not released any information on why they believe the man accused of the attack targeted the supermarket.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson released a statement in which he called the Buffalo shooting “absolutely devastating.”
“Our hearts are with the community and all those affected by this terrible tragedy. Hate and racism have no place in America. We are shocked, extremely angry and praying for the families and loved ones of the victims,” he added.
Reverend Al Sharpton called on the White House to convene a meeting with black, Jewish and Asian leaders “to emphasize that the federal government is (scaling up) its efforts against hate crimes.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland has been briefed on the shooting, Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said.
More than two hours after the shooting, Erica Pugh-Mathews was waiting outside the store, behind the police tape.
“We would like to know the status of my aunt, my mother’s sister. She was there with her fiancé, they split up and went down different aisles,” she said. “A bullet just missed him. He was able to hide in a freezer but he couldn’t reach my aunt and doesn’t know where she is. We’d just like a word anyway if she’s okay.
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