Updated at 10:50 p.m. ET
Ten people were killed and three others injured on Saturday in a mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, which the FBI called “a case of racially motivated violent extremism.”
The shooter – identified by The Associated Press as Payton Gendron, 18, of Conklin, New York – was arrested by police after the shooting at Tops Friendly Market, where Gendron fired approximately 60 shots from a handgun. military quality. .
Gendron wore military-style clothing, a bulletproof vest and helmet, and was armed with a high-powered rifle. He had apparently traveled more than 200 miles to attack the supermarket, located in a predominantly black neighborhood. Eleven of the 13 people shot were black, officials said, while the other two were white.
“The shooter was not from this community,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said Saturday. “In fact, the shooter traveled hours from outside this community to perpetrate this crime against the people of Buffalo.”
BREAKING: BPD at the scene of a mass shooting at the Tops in the 1200 block of Jefferson Avenue. According to the police, several people were hit by gunfire. The shooter is in custody. Motorists and residents are asked to avoid the area.
— Buffalo Police Department (@BPDAlerts) May 14, 2022
The Associated Press reports that the supermarket was located in a predominantly black neighborhood outside of downtown Buffalo. Three of the victims were shot and killed in the parking lot in front of the store, the Buffalo News reported, before Gendron entered Tops and opened fire. After leaving the supermarket, he encountered officers.
When the police arrived, Gendron first threatened to kill himself. “He was standing there in his military gear with his gun to his chin, looking like he was going to blow his head off,” witness Braedyn Kaphart told the Buffalo News. “We weren’t sure what was going on. As he continued to do this, he fell to his knees, always looking ready to shoot himself. Police eventually handcuffed Gendron and was questioned by the FBI on Saturday evening.
Gendron reportedly posted an ugly and unbalanced manifesto online, even for an alleged mass murderer. In it, he talks about becoming radicalized after reading a 4chan forum in his “extreme boredom” during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. “I was not born racist nor raised to be racist. I just became a racist after learning the truth.
The document touts past racist killings and pushes the conspiracy theory that white people are facing extinction and are being “replaced” by immigrants and people of color. It’s a baseless notion that’s been widely promoted on far-right fringes, from neo-Nazi Charlottesville marchers to Tucker Carlson’s Fox News shows.
“It was pure evil,” Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said at a news conference. “It was [a] a racially motivated hate crime by someone outside of our community… coming into our community and trying to inflict this harm on us.
The New York Times reports that Gendron pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and was held without bond in a brief arraignment Saturday night. “I understand my accusations,” he said. The next hearing is scheduled for Thursday, May 19.
“Our hearts are with the community and all those affected by this terrible tragedy,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a statement. “Hate and racism have no place in America. We are shocked, extremely angry and praying for the families and loved ones of the victims.”
“I’m watching the grocery store shooting in Buffalo closely,” said New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a native of Buffalo. tweeted Saturday. “We offered assistance to the local authorities. If you are in Buffalo, please avoid the area and follow the advice of law enforcement and local authorities.
— Eileen Buckley (@eileenwkbw) May 14, 2022
President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland were also briefed on the shooting, the New York Times reported, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was at the scene of the shooting. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement that President Biden “will continue to receive updates throughout [Saturday] tonight and tomorrow as new information develops. The President and First Lady pray for those who have been lost and for their loved ones.
In a statement, Garland said the Justice Department is “investigating this matter as a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism.”
Tops Friendly Markets said in a statement: “We are shocked and deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”
According to Twitch, Gendron live-streamed the mass shooting on the platform – police said he had a camera attached to his helmet during the attack – and left behind a “manifesto” touting the theories of the conspiracy of white supremacy. Buffalo police did not confirm the reports, but said they were investigating to see if the attack was racially motivated. Twitch said in A declaration that Gendron’s purported “user” account has been suspended and that they are working to ensure the live stream is not rebroadcast.
“Twitch has a zero-tolerance policy against violence of any kind and works quickly to respond to all incidents,” the company said.
The Buffalo shooting is the latest racially motivated mass murder inspired by white supremacy theories. In November 2018, 46-year-old Robert Gregory Bowers entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 people. In March 2019, Brenton Tarrant visited two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, shooting dead 51 people and injuring 40 others. Like Gendron, Tarrant live-streamed the massacre and wrote a white supremacy-themed manifesto. The 74-page document was called The Great Replacement, a reference to the right-wing conspiracy theory that non-European populations replace white people. Five months later, a 21-year-old far-right gunman named Patrick Wood Crusius killed 23 people and injured 23 others at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.
Among the “deplorable” set – those for whom this “grand replacement theory” has genuine cultural value – Saturday’s mass shooting draws a mixture of defensiveness, denial and deflection.
Nick Fuentes — the young white supremacist who laments the “white genocide”; leads the Groyper movement online; and organizes the annual America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC) – took on his Telegram channel as news of the killings broke immediately (and without proof) insisted it was a “false flag” offensive.
Laura Loomer — the alt-right troll running for Congress from Florida — initially made a tenuous attempt to link the shooting to current abortion politics, write on Telegram“Planned Parenthood still targeted and killed more black people than the Buffalo supermarket shooter. Facts matter.
In a later post, Loomer, who is Jewish, then attempted to counter the shooter’s apparent anti-Semitism: “Anyone who hates Jews just to hate Jews is stupid and has a low IQ,” she wrote. “There is no reason to blindly hate Jews.” With that disclaimer out of the way, Loomer then launched into a defense of the big substitution panic that would have motivated the shooter. “Worrying about replacement theory is not a radical position either,” Loomer wrote, insisting: “The war on white people is VERY REAL.”
VDARE, the virulently anti-immigrant organization designated a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, did not directly respond to the shooting, but post on his Telegram account an article clearly intended as a diversion, titled: “Whites are responsible for less than 3% of all mass shootings in 2022 so far, but black attacks are soaring”, filled with a photo of Brooklyn subway shooting suspect Frank James.