Ten people were killed and three others injured in a racist attack at a Buffalo grocery store Saturday afternoon when a white 18-year-old gunman opened fire. Eleven of the 13 shooting victims were Black.
Officials said the suspected gunman, identified as Payton Gendron, traveled several hours to carry out the attack. The shooter reportedly live-streamed his actions on social media.
“This is the worst nightmare that any community can face,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. “And we are hurting and we are seething right now as a community. The depth of pain that families are feeling and that all of us are feeling right now cannot even be explained.”
Brown said what started as a beautiful Buffalo day “turned into one of tremendous heartbreak” when a gunman opened fire at a grocery store within city limits.
“This was pure evil,” Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said at a news conference. “Straight up racially motivated, hate crime from somebody outside of our community — outside of the City of Good Neighbors, as the mayor said — coming into our community and trying to inflict evil upon us.”
An apparent manifesto with the suspect’s name, a shared birthdate, and biographical details in common with the suspect, was posted to Google Docs on Thursday night.
In it, the author claimed to have been radicalized online and appeared to adhere to the false replacement theory, which white killers have used to justify violence against Muslims, Latinos, and Jewish people around the world.
A senior law enforcement official said authorities were working to verify the document’s authenticity.
“We are aware of the manifesto allegedly written by the suspect and we’re working to definitively confirm that he is the author,” the law enforcement official said.
Gov. Kathy Hochul said she had directed the state’s Hate Crime Task Force to begin an investigation.
“We are investigating this incident as both a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism,” said Stephen Belongia, special agent of charge of the FBI’s Buffalo field office.
Hochul called the gunman a “white supremacist” who terrorized New York’s second-largest city in a “cold-hearted,” “military-style execution” as people were buying groceries.
“It strikes us in our very hearts to know that there’s such evil that lurks out there,” Hochul said. “This individual — this white supremacist — who just perpetrated a hate crime on an innocent community, will spend the rest of his days behind bars. And heaven help him in the next world as well.”