A heavily armed 18-year-old white man shot 10 persons dead on Saturday at a Buffalo, New York grocery store in a “racially motivated” attack that he live-streamed on camera, authorities said.
The gunman, who was wearing body armor and a helmet, was arrested after the massacre, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told a news conference.
Mr. Gramaglia put the toll at 10 dead and three wounded. Eleven of the victims were African Americans.
The gunman shot four persons in the parking lot of the Tops supermarket, three of them fatally, then went inside and continued firing, Mr. Gramaglia said.
Among those killed inside the store was a retired police officer working as an armed security guard.
The guard “engaged the suspect, fired multiple shots,” but the gunman shot him, Mr. Gramaglia said.
He added that when police arrived, the shooter put the gun to his neck, but was talked down and surrendered.
Stephen Belongia, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Buffalo field office, told the news conference that the shooting is being investigated as a hate crime.
“We are investigating this incident as both a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism,” Mr. Belongia said.
When asked what information led authorities to term the attack a hate crime, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said they had evidence indicating “racial animosity,” but declined to elaborate.
U.S. media outlets have reported officials are investigating a detailed “manifesto” posted online before the shooting, in which the suspect outlines his plans and racial motivations for the attack.
Quoting from the manifesto, the New York Times reported the suspect had been “inspired” by white supremacist acts of violence, including the massacre of 51 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand in March 2019.
A semi-automatic weapon used in Saturday’s shooting also had a racial epithet written on it as well as the number 14 — a reference to a white supremacist phrase — according to local daily The Buffalo News, citing a local official.
The suspect — identified as Payton Gendron of Conklin, New York — had been arraigned on a charge of first-degree murder, which carries a sentence of life without parole. He is being held without bail.
Byron Brown, the mayor of Buffalo — which is located in western New York State, along the U.S. border with Canada — said the shooter “traveled hours from outside this community to perpetrate this crime.”
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said U.S. President Joe Biden had been briefed on the “horrific shooting.”
In a statement, Mr. Biden thanked police and first responders and denounced the attack.