BUFFALO, NY — Shoppers on a weekend afternoon and a retired police officer who worked as a security guard were among 10 shot and killed in a Buffalo supermarket by a white teenager who authorities say was motivated by racial hatred.
Police said Payton Gendron shot a total of 11 black people and two white people on Saturday during a Tops Friendly Market frenzy that the 18-year-old was broadcasting live before surrendering to authorities.
Among the dead was guard Aaron Salter — a retired Buffalo police officer — who fired multiple shots at Gendron, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Saturday. A bullet hit the gunner’s armor but had no effect. Gendron then killed Salter, before chasing more victims.
Also killed was Ruth Whitfield, 86, the mother of retired Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield, who told the Buffalo News that his “mother was a mother to the motherless.”
“She was a blessing to all of us,” he added.
Katherine Massey, who went to the store to get some groceries, was also killed, according to the paper.
It wasn’t immediately clear why Gendron had traveled about 200 miles from his Conklin, New York, to Buffalo and that particular grocery store, located in a predominantly black neighborhood, but screenshots purportedly from the Twitch broadcast appear to show a racial epithet. scribbled on the rifle used in the attack, as well as the number 14, a likely reference to a white supremacist slogan.
During the earlier press conference, Erie County Sheriff John Garcia emphatically called the shooting a hate crime.
“This was pure evil. It was (a) outright racist hate crime by someone outside our community, outside the City of Good Neighbors… who came into our community and tried to do us harm,” Garcia said.
Twitch said in a statement it ended Gendron’s broadcast “less than two minutes after the violence began.”
The massacre sent shockwaves through a troubled nation gripped by racial tensions, gun violence and a wave of hate crimes. The day before the shooting, Dallas police said they were investigating a series of shootings in Koreatown as hate crimes. The Buffalo attack came just a month after another mass shooting in a Brooklyn subway injured 10 people and just over a year after a mass shooting at a Colorado supermarket killed 10 people.
Gendron, confronted by the police in the vestibule of the store, put a rifle to his neck, but was convinced to drop it. He was later arraigned for murder on Saturday and appeared before a judge in a paper gown.
A law enforcement official told The Associated Press that investigators were investigating whether he posted a manifesto online. The official was not allowed to speak about the case publicly and did so on condition of anonymity.
Buffalo police declined to comment on the document, which has been widely circulated online and claims to outline the attacker’s racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic beliefs, including a desire to expel all people of non-European descent from the country. to expel US. killed 51 people in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2019.
Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.