Buffalo supermarket shooting: What we know so far
On Saturday afternoon, a white gunman in military gear attacked shoppers and workers at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, killing 10 people and wounding three others. Most of the victims were black. Officials said they are investigating the shooting as a racially motivated hate crime.
A look at what we know so far:
A white 18-year-old wearing military gear and live streaming with a helmet camera opened fire at Tops Friendly Market. That’s a supermarket in a predominantly black neighbourhood of Buffalo, New York.
The gunman live streamed the shooting to a small audience on Twitch for several minutes before the platform cut off his feed.
According to police, the gunman began shooting in the parking lot then moved inside the store. Security guard Aaron Salter fired multiple shots, but none penetrated the gunman’s armour. The gunman killed Salter and then stalked through the aisles, shooting shoppers.
When police confronted the gunman in the store’s vestibule, he put his rifle to his own neck, but surrendered and dropped the gun with coaxing from the officers.
WHO IS THE SUSPECTED GUNMAN?
Police have identified the gunman as Payton Gendron, of Conklin, New York. Conklin is a small town about 200 miles (320 kilometres) south east of Buffalo, not far from the Pennsylvania state line.
Officials said the rifle Gendron used in the attack was purchased legally but the magazines he used for ammunition were not allowed to be sold in New York.
After the shooting, Gendron appeared before a judge in a paper medical gown and was arraigned on a murder charge.
A document circulated widely online seemingly outlines Gendron’s racist, anti-immigrant and antisemitic beliefs. Among them was a desire to drive all people not of European descent from the US. The document seemed to draw inspiration from the gunman who killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019.
WHO WERE THE VICTIMS?
Police have not released the names of most of the victims. They have said that, including the wounded, 11 victims were black and two were white.
One of those killed was Aaron Salter, a retired Buffalo police officer who was working as a security guard at the store. Salter fired multiple shots at the assailant, striking him at least once.
Also among the dead was Ruth Whitfield, the 86-year-old mother of retired Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield. He told the Buffalo News that his mother was “a mother to the motherless” and “a blessing to all of us”. The newspaper also reported that Katherine Massey was killed.
WHAT WAS THE MOTIVE?
At a news briefing on Saturday, Erie County Sheriff John Garcia called the shooting a hate crime.
“This was pure evil. It was straight up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community, outside of the City of Good neighbours ... coming into our community and trying to inflict that evil upon us,” Garcia said.
The FBI is investigating the shooting as both a hate crime and racially motivated violent extremism.
Authorities have declined to comment on the document purporting to show the attackers racist, anti-immigrant and antisemitic beliefs.