Buffalo shooting: Witnesses describe horrors of supermarket mass shooting that killed 10 and authorities say it was racially motivated

Grady Lewis said he was outside the supermarket when he heard seven or eight shots, and described seeing a white man “fully prepared, ready to go,” dressed in tactical gear firing at the entrance to the store, which is located in the heart of . of the city’s black community.

“He went out, put the gun to his head, to his chin. Then he dropped her and took off his bulletproof vest, then got on his hands and knees and put his hands behind his back,” Lewis said, describing the moments of her. the suspect was arrested by the police. “I thought they were going to shoot him, but they didn’t.”

“I still can’t believe that it happened… that a person walked into a supermarket full of people,” he said. “It was horrible, it was really horrible.”

A woman told WKBW she received a distressing phone call from her “scared and hysterical” 19-year-old granddaughter who was at the supermarket and heard gunshots. The woman ran to the scene and found her granddaughter outside the store.

“I can’t even explain it, how thankful I am to God that she’s okay because she could have been one of the other people,” she told WKBW.

Two people remain hospitalized in stable condition, a spokesperson for the Erie County Medical Center told CNN Saturday night, and a third injured person has been released.

Of the 13 victims, 11 were black and two were white, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said.

The suspect, Payton S. Gendron, an 18-year-old white male, was charged with first-degree murder, prosecutors said. He pleaded not guilty in court Saturday night, Buffalo City Court Chief Judge Craig Hannah told CNN.

The US Department of Justice is investigating the shooting “as a hate crime and a racially motivated act of violent extremism,” according to a statement from US Attorney General Merrick Garland. The FBI and ATF are coordinating with state and local law enforcement in their investigations, according to the release.

The shooting was a “racially motivated hate crime by someone outside of our community,” Erie County Sheriff John C. Garcia said Saturday. “This was pure evil.”

People hug outside the scene of a shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo on Saturday.

How the shooting unfolded

Around 2:30 p.m., authorities allege the suspect, who hails from the town of Conklin, a three-and-a-half hour drive from Buffalo in western New York, drove to Tops Friendly Markets near the Masten areas. Park and Kingsley, which are predominantly black neighborhoods.

Wearing tactical gear and armed with “an assault weapon,” the suspect allegedly shot and killed three people in the parking lot and wounded a fourth, according to a statement from Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn.

Authorities say the suspected Buffalo supermarket shooter traveled from hours away.  This is what we know

The suspect then entered the store and exchanged gunfire with an armed security guard, who was a retired member of the Buffalo Police Department, according to the release.

However, because the suspect was wearing heavy tactical gear, the guard’s bullets had no effect, Gramaglia said Saturday.

“He was very heavily armed,” the police commissioner said. “He had tactical gear, he had a tactical helmet on, he had a camera that was broadcasting live what he was doing.”

Inside the store, nine people were shot before police took the suspect into custody, and the guard and six others died of their injuries, according to the district attorney’s statement.

In a statement sent to CNN, the live streaming service Twitch confirmed that the shooting was broadcast and said that the user “has been indefinitely suspended from our service and we are taking all appropriate measures, including monitoring any accounts that re-broadcast this content”.

CNN obtained a portion of the live feed showing the suspect arriving at the grocery store in his vehicle and is not broadcasting the video.

Authorities investigate shooting as hate crime

After the shooting, investigators obtained “certain evidence” that “indicates some racial animosity” on the part of the suspect, Flynn said during a news conference on Saturday.

“I’m not going to … elaborate on what exactly they are at this point, but we do have evidence in custody right now that shows there is some racial component,” Flynn said.

What we know about Buffalo supermarket shooting suspect Payton Gendron
Investigators are reviewing an alleged 180-page manifesto that was posted online in connection with the shooting, two federal law enforcement sources told CNN.

The manifesto, independently obtained by CNN shortly after the attack and before authorities released the suspect’s name, is allegedly written by a person claiming to be Payton Gendron and a confessed to the attack.

The author of the manifesto says he bought ammunition for some time, but did not get serious about planning the attack until January. The author continues with his perceptions of the declining size of the white population and claims of ethnic and cultural replacement for whites, describing himself as a fascist, a white supremacist, and an anti-Semite.

Additional charges may be filed alongside the first-degree murder charge, Flynn said, and the suspect faces a maximum of life in prison without parole if convicted.

Bystanders gather under umbrellas as it rains after a shooting at a supermarket Saturday in Buffalo.

Nation and community react to shooting

President Joe Biden condemned the shooting in a statement Saturday night and said he mourns the families of those who died.

“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.” “. he said. “Hate must have no safe harbor.”

The Buffalo supermarket massacre is the latest high-profile mass shooting that authorities say was motivated by hate.  here are others

“This is the worst nightmare any community can face and we are hurting and we are angry right now as a community,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. “The depth of pain that families are feeling and that all of us are feeling right now cannot even be explained.”

Speaking about the alleged motive for the shooting, Darius G. Pridgen, president of the Buffalo city council and senior pastor of True Bethel Baptist Church, told CNN’s Pamela Brown that he hopes it will be understood that race relations in the city they don’t have to be frayed and that the shooting was the work of an “evil” individual from outside the community.

“In the same way that I don’t want to see black people painted with a broad brush if we have a black person (it’s bad), they say, ‘Oh, those black people.’ So at the end of the day, I don’t want the same thing to happen in our community with black and white relationships,” Pridgen said.

“This was not a white man from Buffalo. He was a white person who was evil, so I don’t want to see all the white people painted and have a tension between black and white over the individual who should serve his time. “

CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian, Shimon Prokupecz, Christina Maxouris, Emma Tucker, Sharif Paget, Sabrina Shulman, Jamiel Lynch, Brian Stelter, Phil Gast, Gregory Clary, Samantha Beech and Haley Burton contributed to this report.

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