President Joe Biden called Saturday’s Buffalo supermarket attack “an act of domestic terrorism,” while the Justice Department investigated the apparently racially motivated mass shooting as a hate crime.
Biden praised in a statement that “the hearts of this entire country go out to the people of Buffalo” after a teenage gunman killed 10 people and wounded three others at a Tops Friendly Market in a predominantly black neighborhood of the city.
“We still need to learn more about the motivation for today’s shooting as law enforcement goes about their business, but we don’t need anything else to state a clear moral truth: A racially motivated hate crime is abhorrent to the very fabric of this nation. . Biden said.
“Any act of domestic terrorism, including an act perpetrated in the name of a repugnant white nationalist ideology, is antithetical to everything we stand for in America. Hate should not have a safe harbor. We must do everything in our power to end domestic terrorism fueled by hate.”
The president praised law enforcement and first responders, adding that he and First Lady Jill Biden were praying for the victims and their families.
Accused shooter Payton Gendron, 18, posted a rambling manifesto spouting racist views and saying he had radicalized himself in the dark corners of the web, law enforcement sources said. Eleven of his victims were black, authorities said Saturday.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland said the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were “working closely” with the Buffalo Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.
“The Department of Justice is investigating this matter as a hate crime and a racially motivated act of violent extremism,” Garland said in a statement. “The Justice Department is committed to conducting a thorough and expeditious investigation into this shooting and seeking justice for these innocent victims.”