At least 10 people have been killed in a shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, local police said on Saturday.
The incident is being investigated as both a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism, according to law enforcement.
The suspected shooter is in custody, police said Saturday at a news conference following the shooting around 2:30 p.m. inside and outside Jefferson Avenue Tops Markets, about three miles north of downtown Buffalo.
“It was pure evil. It was squarely a racially motivated hate crime by someone out of town,” Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said.
The shooter was identified as Payton Gendron of Conklin, a community about 200 miles southeast of Buffalo, New York, two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press. The officials were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter and did so on condition of anonymity.
Dressed in a hospital gown, Gendron was arraigned on Saturday night for first-degree murder and sentenced to detention without bail. Another hearing is scheduled for next week.
The supermarket is in a predominantly black neighborhood. The surrounding area is mostly residential, with a Family Dollar store and a fire station nearby.
Of the 13 victims, 11 were black and two were white while the shooter is white, police said at the news conference.
He was dressed in tactical gear and armed with a rifle. Police said he appears to be from a county near New York State, a few hours drive from Buffalo. The shooter broadcast the incident live, according to police.
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Upon arrival, the shooter, an 18-year-old man, fired four bullets into the parking lot. Three died and one survived.
The shooter then entered the store and opened fire. One of the people who died inside the Tops supermarket was a retired police officer, according to the Buffalo Police Commissioner.
The suspect put the gun to his own neck before Buffalo police convinced him to put it down and take him into custody.
Buffalo supermarket shooting: 10 dead, suspect in custody, police say
“We suffered a mass shooting with multiple casualties,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said.
“Many of us know this supermarket very well. Many of us know some of the victims of this horrific crime. It’s the worst nightmare any community can face, and we’re hurting and bubbling right now. There is no comfort right now,” he said.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,” Tops Markets said.
“Our top priority remains the health and well-being of our associates and customers. We appreciate the prompt response from local law enforcement and are providing all available resources to assist authorities with the ongoing investigation.
Governor Kathy Hochul tweeted that she was “closely monitoring the grocery store shooting in Buffalo,” her hometown. She said state officials have offered assistance to local authorities.
The shooting came just over a year after a March 2021 attack on a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado that killed 10 people. Investigators have not released any information on why they believe the man accused of the attack targeted the supermarket.
– With files from the Associated Press
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