Workers described chaos at a US supermarket when an 18-year-old opened fire in what authorities say was a racially motivated mass shooting.
Workers and shoppers described the chaos and carnage at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo when an 18-year-old opened fire in the store in what authorities called a racially motivated mass shooting on Saturday that left 10 dead and three wounded.
The shooting sent those in the store fleeing for their lives out of the nearest exit, or hiding in coolers, the New York Post reports.
Several friends and relatives of those who were in the store await news of their loved ones hours later.
Authorities have not yet released the names of the victims, but said 11 of those shot were black and two were white. One of the victims is a tired Buffalo police officer.
Shonnell Harris, operations manager for Tops, said the buffalo news heard 70 shots at the market, which was “packed” with weekend shoppers.
She said she fell several times while running to the back of the market. She said she saw the shooter, who has been identified as Payton Gendron, of Conklin, New York, which is more than three hours from Buffalo.
“It’s like a dream, but I know it’s not a dream,” Harris said.
Her daughter also works at the supermarket, she told the newspaper. Harris said he was able to locate his daughter, who was safely in the back of the store.
“I just grabbed her, hugged her,” he said.
A dairy worker in Tops Market said he took refuge inside the cooler where he had been storing milk moments before the shots erupted.
“I only heard gunshots. Shots and shots and shots,” he told the newspaper. “It sounded like things were falling down.”
He said other frightened people joined him in the cooler. “I hid. I just hid. I wasn’t going to leave that room.”
Veronica Hemphill-Nichols said she was heading to the Tops for a loaf of bread when she saw bodies lying on the ground in the parking lot.
She said the buffalo news she “just snapped” after seeing the bodies and is now “trying to shut down”.
Across the street from the Tops, retired firefighter and doctor Katherine Crofton recalled seeing the Gendron after hearing the gunshots while sitting on her porch with her dog. She told the newspaper that she saw him shoot two women.
“I didn’t see him at first, I turned around and I saw him shoot this woman,” Crofton said.
“She had just entered the store. And she then she shot another woman. She was putting groceries in her car. I got off because I didn’t know if she was going to shoot me.”
She described the tense scene as Gendron emerged from inside the market and was confronted by rescuers. Crofton said he “just stood there” as law enforcement officers yelled at him, “like he wanted to get shot.”
Gendron was taken into police custody and arraigned hours later on Saturday.
The mass shooting, which is the largest so far in the US this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, is being investigated “as both a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism,” Stephen said. Belongia, the special agent. in charge of the FBI field office in Buffalo, he said during a news conference.
Authorities said Gendron arrived at the supermarket heavily armed and wearing tactical gear. In the parking lot, he killed three people and injured a fourth.
A security guard and a former Buffalo police officer tried to stop him and shot Gendron, but the bullet missed his armor. The shooter shot and killed the guard and continued his deadly rampage inside the store.
Gendron also brought a camera and live streamed the massacre on Twitch, the streaming platform confirmed. The flow was removed from the site two minutes after the shooting began, a spokesman said. The charge.
This article originally appeared in the New York Post and is reproduced with permission.
Originally published as Buffalo supermarket shooting: Workers and shoppers forced to hide in coolers