Officials say an 18-year-old suspect fatally shot 10 people and injured three others in a grocery store Saturday after driving hours to Buffalo, New York.
The attack is described by authorities as “racially motivated violent extremism” after the shooting of 11 Black and two White victims. Police say the shooter wore a helmet camera and broadcast the rampage live on the streaming platform Twitch.
The teenage suspect, identified as Payton Gendron, was arraigned and pled not guilty to a charge of first degree murder. Investigators believe he drove from his home in Conklin, New York. His Twitch feed showed him arriving at the Tops Friendly Market some 200 miles from Conklin.
From there Buffalo police say he shot four people in the parking lot, three of them fatally. Gendron then allegedly entered the supermarket and continued firing on other victims. Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia says the shooter encountered retired Buffalo police officer Aaron Salter.
The former cop was working at the Tops Friendly Market as a security guard. Salter fired multiple shots and at least one bullet was stopped by Gendron’s bulletproof armor. Gramaglia says the shooter then killed Salter.
The Justice Department is investigating the mass shooting as a hate crime. Authorities believe Gendron posted a 180-page manifesto taking credit for the violence. The document reportedly plots the attack in detail, and the Anti-Defamation League says it is very anti-Semitic and racist.
The manifesto, according to media outlets who have reviewed it, claims he specifically targeted the store because of the high Black population in the zip code.
A law enforcement official revealed that the suspect threatened a shooting at his high school last June. He was brought in afterwards for a mental health evaluation.
President Joe Biden, after acknowledging the need for law enforcement to learn more about the motivation for the attack, said “a racially motivated hate crime is abhorrent to the very fabric of this nation.”
A supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, was attacked just over a year ago, and 10 people also died there. Police in Dallas, Texas, are investigating a spate of shootings in Koreatown that are believed to be hate crimes, and a mass shooting on a Brooklyn subway train last month injured 10.
The investigation of course is very early, but the suspect apparently left a dramatic body of evidence concerning his motivation and attack.