A heavily armed racist white teenager who made clear he was motivated by hate for Black people stormed into a Buffalo supermarket on Saturday afternoon and opened fire on shoppers, killing 10 people and injuring three more in the worst outbreak of violence in the city's modern history, authorities said.
All but two of the 13 people shot were Black.
The shooter, wearing body armor and carrying a rifle, opened fire at a Tops Friendly Market around 2:30 p.m., cops said. He was arrested at the scene.
"This was pure evil," Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said at a press conference. "It was straight-up racially motivated."
Payton Gendron of Conklin, N.Y., a town near Binghamton about 200 miles from Buffalo, was arraigned Saturday night in Buffalo City Court. Gendron, 18, wore a white smock and a white face mask as his public defender entered a not guilty plea to murder and other charges. A judge ordered him held without bail.
The shooting is being investigated as a hate crime and a case of "racially motivated violent extremism," said Stephen Belongia, special agent in charge of the FBI's Buffalo field office.
Gendron put his name to a 180-page white nationalist manifesto and posted it online. The manifesto said the shooter targeted the area around the supermarket because it is in a Zip code that is home to "the highest Black percentage that is close enough to where I live."
The manifesto also includes pages of anti-Semitic ranting — but it was mostly devoted to the writer's hatred of Blacks.
"Today 10 people were killed in New York by a white supremacist," said state Attorney General Letitia James in a tweet.
"I mourn their losses. I resist the hate that took their lives because of the color of their skin," wrote James. "I pray for the day when being Black is not a reason to take our lives."
"We pray for our neighbors in Buffalo tonight," Mayor Adams said. "And we will both pray and work to end the scourge of gun violence and hatred that has terrorized our country."
Cops said the shooter drove from "hours away" to the supermarket, about three miles north of downtown Buffalo.
The gunman wore camouflage, military-style fatigues and a helmet for his rampage. He livestreamed the shooting on social media using a camera attached to the helmet.
"He was very heavily armed. He had tactical gear. He had a tactical helmet on. He had a camera that he was live-streaming what he was doing," Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told a news conference.
Gramaglia said the gunman shot four people in the parking lot before moving inside the store. A former Buffalo police officer working as a security guard tried to stop the young man, but the shooter killed him.
"He continued to work his way through the store," Gramaglia said. "Ultimately, he worked his way back toward the front of the store. Buffalo police immediately responded and engaged the suspect in the vestibule of the store. And at that point the suspect put the gun to his own neck."
Two Buffalo residents, Braedyn Kephart and Shane Hill, were on their way to shop at the market and may have witnessed the end of the shooting.
"He was standing there with the gun to his chin. We were like, 'What the heck is going on? Why does this kid have a gun to his face?'" Kephart said, adding that the shooter then dropped to his knees.
"He ripped off his helmet, dropped his gun, and was tackled by the police."
Police officers swarmed the scene.
"It's like walking onto a horror movie, but everything is real. It is Armageddon-like," an officer told the Buffalo News. "It is so overwhelming."
President Biden's office released a statement about three hours after the shooting was first reported. "The President and the First Lady are praying for those who have been lost and for their loved ones," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
Gov. Hochul, a Buffalo native, tweeted Saturday evening: "My heart breaks for the victims' families and for everyone impacted by this horrific and despicable act of violence."
In Buffalo, Hochul met with law enforcement officials and said she was "holding close the memory of the security guard who was killed trying to stop the shooter. A true hero."
Tops Friendly Markets also released 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 a little more than a year after a gunman, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, killed 10 people at a supermarket in Boulder, Colo. Alissa's motive for the attack is still under investigation. Last month, he was ruled incompetent to stand trial.
[via New York Daily News]