Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Grammaglia said 13 people – 11 of them African Americans – were shot and three sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Grammaglia said the two victims were white.
“The shooter traveled for hours from outside this community to commit this crime on Buffalo residents, a day when people were enjoying the sunshine, enjoying family, and enjoying friends,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at a Saturday evening news conference. “People are in the supermarket, they are shopping with bullets raining down on them. People’s souls are pouring out in an instant for no reason.”
Buffalo City Court Chief Craig Hannah told CNN that the accused, Payton Gendron, an 18-year-old white man, has been charged with first-degree murder, adding that the attorney general’s office plans to indict the suspect and bring additional charges. Gendron pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Grammaglia said the suspect first opened fire in the store’s parking lot and then moved inside, where he continued to shoot before surrendering to police.
Stephen Bilongia, an FBI special agent in charge of the Buffalo Field Office, said the FBI is investigating the shooting as a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism.
Here’s what we know about the shooting and investigation.
The suspect broadcasted the violence live
At about 2:30 p.m. Saturday, the suspect drove to Tops Friendly Markets supermarket on Jefferson Avenue, got out of his car and shot four people in the parking lot, Grammaglia said. Grammaglia said three of those died, while another was expected to survive.
“He was heavily armed,” the commissioner said. “He was wearing tactical gear, he was wearing a tactical helmet, and he had a camera that was broadcasting what he was doing.”
The suspect used an assault weapon, Erie County District Attorney John J. cork.
Livestreaming Twitch confirmed on Saturday that the suspect used its platform to broadcast a live broadcast during the attack.
The company said it was “devastated” to hear the news of the shooting and the user added, “We have been suspended indefinitely from our service, and we are taking all appropriate measures, including monitoring any accounts that rebroadcast this content.”
After shooting four people in the parking lot, the suspect entered the store and began shooting at customers. A security guard inside the store who was a retired Buffalo police officer shot the suspect. But Grammaglia said, because the suspect was wearing heavy armour, the bullets had no effect.
The commissioner said the suspect shot and killed the security guard and continued making his way through the store. He added that when the police arrived, the suspect put his gun to his neck but later dropped the gun and took off some of his equipment.
He surrendered and was taken to Buffalo Police Headquarters.
Investigators are looking at a statement
Two federal law enforcement officials told CNN that investigators were reviewing an alleged statement posted online Saturday regarding the Buffalo mass shooting investigation.
The statement, which CNN independently obtained shortly after the attack and before authorities released the suspect’s name, was written by someone claiming to be Payton Gendron admitting to the attack.
The manifesto’s writer says he purchased ammunition for some time but wasn’t serious about planning the attack until January.
The manifesto’s author pursues his perceptions of the dwindling size of the white population and claims of the substitution of race and culture for whites.
Part of the document was written in the form of a question and answer. The manifesto’s author credits the Internet for most of his beliefs, describing himself as a fascist, white supremacist, and anti-Semite.
Erie County Sheriff John C. Garcia said the shooting was a “direct racial hate crime from someone outside our community.”
The sheriff said, “This was pure evil.”
The supermarket is located near the predominantly black areas of Masten Park and Kingsley.
“You now have a white striker…in the (majority) black community. Why did he choose this market?” CNN National Security Analyst Juliette Chaim said:
“I won’t go into detail about what they are now, but we have evidence in custody now that shows there is an element of racism,” Flynn said.
What do we know about the victims?
Police Commissioner Grammaglia said that of the 13 people shot, 11 were African-American and two were white.
He said four of the people who fired were store employees. He said one of them, a security guard, was killed while the other three had “non-fatal injuries”.
The authorities have not yet shared any other information, including the ages of the victims.
CNN’s Artemis Moushtagian, Shimon Prokopech, and Brian Stelter contributed to this report.