Authorities said an 18-year-old white man opened fire on a supermarket in a predominantly black area of Buffalo, killing 10 people and wounding three, in a racist attack that turned a sunny Saturday into one of the darkest. in the city’s history.
The suspect was identified in court as Payton S. Jendron of Conklin, New York. On Saturday evening, he pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, a charge that could lead to life imprisonment without parole.
Armed with an assault weapon and wearing body armor, Mr. Gendron had a video camera attached to his helmet that streamed the shooting live, police said.
The attack appears to have been inspired by past massacres motivated by racial hatred, including the shootings at a mosque in New Zealand and another at a Walmart in Texas, both in 2019.
A law enforcement official said investigators were reviewing a statement believed to have been posted online by Mr. Gendron. It was filled with racist and anti-immigrant views that claimed white Americans were in danger of being replaced by people of color, an ideology known as The Great Replacement Theory. In videos and photos of the massacre that appear to have been captured by his helmet-mounted camera, an anti-black racist slur can be seen on the barrel of his weapon.
Authorities said 11 of those killed were black and two white.
“It was a straightforward racist hate crime,” Erie County Mayor John Garcia said at a news conference Saturday night.
Authorities said the massacre began around 2:30 p.m., when Gendron, who did not live in Buffalo and had traveled several hours from Conklin, a town south of Binghamton, got out of his car in tactical gear. Gear, body armor and assault weapon carry.
At the press conference, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Grammaglia said he had shot four people in the parking lot, three of whom were killed. When he entered the store and continued shooting, he was confronted by a security guard – a retired police officer from Buffalo who returned fire. But Mr. Gendron was wearing heavy metallic paint; He killed the guard and continued to enter the store, shooting shoppers and employees.
Mr. Gramaglia said when Buffalo police officers arrived and confronted Mr. Gendron, he put a gun to his neck, but two of the patrolmen persuaded him to lay down his gun and surrender.
Buffalo US attorney Trini E. Ross said her office will investigate the murders as hate crimes. Stephen Bilongia, the special agent in charge of the FBI field office in Buffalo, said the shooting was “a case of racially motivated violent extremism.”
Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said he and his family periodically shop at the store, an outlet of the regional chain Tops Friendly Markets. “Some of the victims of this shooting attack are people we all know who are standing here,” he said, surrounded by the city’s political and law enforcement leaders.
The attack took place in a neighborhood known as Maston Park on Buffalo’s east side. Dominic Calhoun, who lives within sight of a Tops supermarket, said she was entering the parking lot when the shooting occurred.
She said she saw people running and screaming, so she stopped the car across the street. She was with her two daughters, 8 and 9, all three of whom were planning to buy ice cream.
“It could literally have been me,” she said of the people who were killed.
At the crime scene, Barbara Massey Maps waited anxiously outside the police tape for news of her 72-year-old sister, who she suspected of being in the supermarket when the shooting occurred. “I’ll stay here until I see my sister,” she said.
Officials said the camera worn by the gunman was used to broadcast the attack live on Twitch, an Amazon-owned live streaming site popular with gamers. Twitch said it has taken the channel offline.
“The user has been suspended indefinitely from our service, and we are taking all appropriate measures, including monitoring any accounts that rebroadcast such content,” a Twitch spokeswoman said.
Footage from the broadcast circulated online, including some that appeared to show the shooter holding a rifle and standing over a corpse in the grocery store.
Other social media posts showed what was said to be a list of instructions the shooter had issued to himself – a to-do list that included “continue writing the statement” and “test the livestream functionality before the actual attack” – on the Discord messaging platform. Discord username matches Twitch channel name.
Federal authorities are studying the statement of purpose that the gunman posted online, according to a high-ranking federal law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to reveal details of the investigation.
The document, circulated on the online message board 4chan, compared the gunman’s plan to a mass shooting motivated by fanaticism and promoted the theory of the “Great Replacement.”
He wrote that he would use a GoPro Hero 7 Black to “live stream the attack on Twitch,” which he chose so that “all people with internet access can watch and record.” He pointed out that shooting At a synagogue in Halle, Germany, in 2019 broadcast live on Twitch.
He then detailed over a dozen pages of tactical equipment he recommended for similar attacks, including knives, jackets, and medical equipment. He said that “conservatism is dead” and that the progressives’ call for equality was wrong because he claimed that the average IQ of a black man is lower than that of a white man.
The killing of 10 people in Buffalo represents the highest number of fatalities in a mass shooting this year, according to Gun Violence Archivewho tracks them. The highest death toll this year, before that, was six in a shooting incident in Downtown Sacramento On April 3, six people were killed in a shooting in Corsicana, Texas, on February 5, and the same number were killed in a shooting in Milwaukee on January 23, according to the site.
Firearms deaths reached an all-time high in the United States in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, rising 35 percent, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday.
“This is a historic increase, with the rate reaching its highest level in more than 25 years,” said Dr. Debra E. Houry, the CDC’s acting deputy director and director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, in a news briefing this week.
Dan HigginsAnd Luke HamillAnd Glenn ThrushAnd Adam GoldmanAnd Alexandra E PetriAnd Ashley SouthallAnd Vimal Patel And Eduardo Medina Contribute to the preparation of reports. Jack Big Contribute to research.