A heavily armed gunman clad in tactical gear and with a camera live-streaming his actions opened fire at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y., on Saturday, killing 10 people and injuring three others before he was apprehended, Buffalo Police said, in a horrific shooting spree authorities believed was racially motivated.
The 18-year-old white man shot four people in the parking lot of a Tops Friendly Market and then proceeded into the store, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said during a press conference.
One of the victims was a retired Buffalo Police officer working as a security guard in the store who shot the suspect, but the round was stopped by the suspect’s body armor, Gramaglia said.
Three other employees were killed along with six customers at the supermarket, which is in a mostly Black area of Buffalo — 11 of the victims were Black and three white.
Gramaglia said the suspect was not from the community and “traveled hours to perpetrate this crime.”
The suspect wore a camera and live-streamed the attack before he surrendered to police, Gramaglia said.
Stephen Belongia, the special agent in charge of the FBI Buffalo Field Office, said the bureau is investigating the shooting as a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism.
An unnamed Buffalo police official told the Buffalo News the scene was like “walking onto a horror movie, but everything is real. It is Armageddon-like.”
The attack was “pure evil,” Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said during the press conference. “It was [a] straight up racially motivated hate crime, perpetrated by somebody outside of our community … trying to inflict that evil upon us.”
The suspect was identified as Payton Gendron of Conklin, a town roughly 200 miles southeast of Buffalo near New York’s border with Pennsylvania, two law enforcement officials told the Associated Press. Officials reportedly said he live-streamed the attack on Twitch from a camera attached to his helmet. The Amazon-owned streaming video company said in a statement that the user’s account had been suspended and it was monitoring for any attempts to rebroadcast the footage. Images that circulated on social media after the shooting showed a racial slur written on the barrel of an assault rifle. Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn said the suspect would be arraigned on a charge of murder in the first degree Saturday evening. Flynn said additional charges will be added.