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Gunman kills 10 in live-streamed racial attack at supermarket in Buffalo

WorldMay 16, 2022 06:23AM ET
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6/6 © Reuters. Police officers secure the scene after a shooting at TOPS supermarket in Buffalo, New York, U.S. May 14, 2022. REUTERS/Jeffrey T. Barnes REFILE - CORRECTING DATE 2/6

By Jenna Zucker, Steve Gorman and Moira Warburton

BUFFALO, N.Y. (Reuters) - An 18-year-old white gunman shot 10 people to death and wounded three on Saturday at a grocery store in a Black neighborhood of upstate New York, before surrendering after what authorities called an act of "racially motivated violent extremism."

Authorities said the suspect, who was armed with an assault-style rifle and appeared to have acted alone, drove to Buffalo from his home several hours away to launch the afternoon attack that he broadcast in real time on social media platform Twitch, a live video service owned by Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN).

Eleven of the 13 people struck by gunfire were Black, officials said. The two others were white. The racial breakdown of the dead was not made clear.

Court papers named the suspect as Payton Gendron of Conklin, a town of about 5,000 people in New York's Southern Tier region near the Pennsylvania border.

He was arraigned hours after the shooting in state court on first-degree murder charges, which carry a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole, said Erie County District Attorney John Flynn. New York has no capital punishment.

Flynn said the judge also ordered Gendron to remain in custody without bail and to undergo a "forensic examination." Gendron was scheduled to return to court on May 19.

SURRENDERED TO POLICE

Authorities said the teenager, reported by local media to have been a student at the State University of New York's Broome Community College near Binghamton, had come close to taking his own life before he was arrested.

When confronted by officers at the store, the suspect held a gun to his own neck, but they talked him into dropping the weapon and surrendering, Buffalo police commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told a news briefing.

Gramaglia said the gunman shot and killed three people in the parking lot of the Tops Friendly Markets outlet before exchanging fire with a retired police officer working as a security guard for the store, but the suspect was protected by his body armor.

The guard was one of the 10 people shot to death, the nine others all being customers. Three other employees of the store, part of a regional chain, were wounded but are expected to survive, authorities said.

Shonnell Harris, a manager at Tops, told the Buffalo News she thought she heard as many as 70 gunshots and that she fell several times as she ran through the store to a rear exit.

"He looked like he was in the army," she told the newspaper, describing the camouflage-clad assailant.

Retired firefighter Katherine Crofton, who lives nearby, said she witnessed the start of the bloodshed from her porch.

"I saw him shoot this woman," Crofton told the paper. "She was just going into the store. And then he shot another woman. She was putting groceries into her car. I got down because I did not know if he was going to shoot me."

'PURE EVIL'

Stephen Belongia, the FBI special agent in charge of the bureau's Buffalo field office, said the attack would be investigated both as a hate crime and as an act of "racially motivated violent extremism" under federal law.

"This person was pure evil," Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said at a news conference, his voice quaking with emotion. "It was a straight-up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community."

U.S. President Biden decried the shooting as "abhorrent to the very fabric of this nation" in a statement issued late Saturday. "Hate must have no safe harbor. We must do everything in our power to end hate-fueled domestic terrorism."

New York Governor Kathy Hochul told a late-evening news conference she was dismayed that the killer managed to live-stream his attack on social media, which she blamed for hosting a "feeding frenzy" of violent extremist ideology.

"The fact that that can even be posted on a platform is absolutely shocking," Hochul said. "These outlets must be more vigilant in monitoring social media content."

Twitch said in a statement that it removed the livestream less than two minutes after it started and was working to ensure no other accounts re-posted the content. Hochul said it should have been taken down "within a second."

Screenshots of the broadcast were posted on social media, including some that appeared to show the shooter holding a gun and standing over a body in the grocery store.

A document circulating online that appeared to have been written by the killer sketched out a to-do list for the attack, including cleaning the gun and testing the livestream.

In addition, a 180-page manifesto outlining 'The Great Replacement Theory' - the idea that white people are being replaced by minorities in the United States and other countries - also circulated online, reportedly authored by Gendron.

A spokesperson for Flynn's office declined to comment on the documents. The FBI could not immediately be reached for comment.

The governor also said she would introduce a previously planned "comprehensive" gun control package on Tuesday to "address further loopholes that exist in our (state) laws."

Hochul said the firearm used in the killings was legally purchased but had been illegally modified with a high-capacity magazine, which she said could easily have been purchased legally in Pennsylvania.

The Buffalo shooting follows a pattern of other racially motivated mass murders in recent years, including a Pittsburgh synagogue attack that left 11 congregants dead in October 2018, and the Atlanta spa shootings in March 2021 in which a white man killed eight people, targeting Asians.

Saturday's shooting spree was also reminiscent of the attack on a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019, when the killer live-streamed the murders on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB).

Buffalo Mayor Bryon Brown called for unity on what he called a "day of great pain for our community."

"Many of us have been in and out of this supermarket many times," he told reporters. "We cannot let this hateful person divide our community or our country."

Gunman kills 10 in live-streamed racial attack at supermarket in Buffalo
 

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Comments (13)
Limin Tandiono
Limin Tandiono May 15, 2022 12:57PM ET
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An excellent example resulted from the best practiced democracy in the most democratic country?
Marco cuevas
Marco cuevas May 15, 2022 11:04AM ET
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Gee I wonder what party he belongs to? You're white youth is being radicalized online folks...better watch what your kids are doing.
Anthony Crowley
Anthony Crowley May 15, 2022 11:04AM ET
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michael brennick  He's self described as a fascist white supremacist anti-Semite. Fascism and communism have very different philosophies about society, ideas about economy and political systems. Fascism is neither inherently left nor right leaning but the actions taken in its name are wholly dependent upon the whims of a charismatic leader given absolute authority so he can conveniently go in any direction as long as it keeps him in power.
Mart Bab
Rubberduck1973 May 15, 2022 6:20AM ET
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This is happening a lot in the USA guys. So much so it’s preventing me from planning a road-trip in the USA. I happen to be brownish. Could this have been prevented by scanning the internet for mor o n's before the act?
CS Greer
CSGreer May 15, 2022 5:25AM ET
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Everybody thinks it's because people own guns. For centuries most households had guns and this didn't happen. Notice nobody wants to blame the constant promotion of immorality. Christians are attacked and mocked on a daily basis, Bibles are no longer in schools, family values are shunned.... yet people think guns are the problem. It's like... the most ignorant times in all of human history these days.
Joe Ned
BestBet May 15, 2022 5:25AM ET
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Religion wont prevent lunatics from *****
jason xx
jason xx May 15, 2022 5:25AM ET
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Psychopaths have extremely easy access to guns genius it's part of the equation mo. ron
Mart Bab
Rubberduck1973 May 15, 2022 5:25AM ET
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🤔. So you think family values and morality are products of Christianity? There you go again insulting others. Also, you are gaslighting on the topic or gun violence. You are proposing no solution. Instead you are promoting your Christianity as the solution. It’s almost as if you are happy when someone goes out and shoot a bunch of innocent people. You can use this horrible situation pitch.
Vonn Sygma
Vonn Sygma May 15, 2022 5:25AM ET
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ikr **** this dude
Atlantic Coast Money
Atlantic Coast Money May 15, 2022 5:25AM ET
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Very well stated. When church and state were separated, it was the beginning of the end. Slowly unraveling and accelerating as time passes. Catholic population in this country is shrinking. Tragic.
Alex Malmstrom
Alex Malmstrom May 15, 2022 5:24AM ET
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Remember when the MSM covered the story earlier this year of a black shooter in an NYC subway train? Yeah, me neither!
jason white
jason white May 15, 2022 5:24AM ET
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don't forget the fellow that plowed down a bunch of folks at a parade in his car. Was that guy charged with a hate crime / domestic terrorism?
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus May 15, 2022 3:02AM ET
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another rightwing gun nut terrorist
Jef Kai
Jef Kai May 15, 2022 1:06AM ET
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Why this shooting mostly happened in the US ? Compare to the rest of the world, Something that the US goverment honestly need to explain that there’s something really wrong with the system
Limin Tandiono
Limin Tandiono May 15, 2022 1:06AM ET
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An excellent example resulted from the best practiced democracy in the most democratic country?
Malice Palace
Malice Palace May 14, 2022 10:21PM ET
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The land of the free
gab nea
gab nea May 14, 2022 9:26PM ET
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vote anyone that doesn't want sensible gun control laws, vote them out! pronto.
Matt Goodwin
Matt Goodwin May 14, 2022 9:26PM ET
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Lol you think a law was going to stop a guy like this? If more people carried, they could have shot and stopped him sooner.
David Beckham
David Beckham May 14, 2022 8:56PM ET
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America always the best hyper inflation war gun shoot racism market crash
 
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