Law enforcement officials said Saturday a gunman opened fire with a rifle at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, in what officials called a “hate crime and racially motivated violent extremism,” killing 10 people and three others. were injured.
Two law enforcement officers told The Associated Press that the suspect was identified as Peyton Gendron of Conklin, about 200 miles southeast of Buffalo in New York state. Officials were not allowed to speak publicly on the matter and did so on condition of anonymity. One of the officers said the FBI was questioning the suspect Saturday evening.
Officials said 11 of the victims are black and two are white. The shooting took place in a predominantly Black neighborhood a few miles (kilometers) north of downtown Buffalo.
One of the officers said investigators believe the gunman may have been streaming the shooting through a camera attached to his helmet. In the video, it can be seen that the gunman in military gear with a rifle in the front seat pulls towards the front of the shop and then points the rifle and fires bullets at people in the parking lot as he exits the vehicle, the officer said. .
It also shows the suspect entering a supermarket and shooting several other victims, the official said. According to officials, one of the victims was a recently retired police officer who was working as a security guard at the store.
One of the officers cautioned that the investigation was in its early stages and that officers had not yet seen a clear motive, but were investigating whether the shooting was racially motivated.
The supermarket is in a predominantly Black neighborhood, about 3 miles (5 kilometers) north of downtown Buffalo. The surrounding area is primarily residential, with a Family Dollar store and fire station near the store.
Buffalo Police confirmed that the shooter was in custody in a tweet, but did not identify the suspect. Police officials did not immediately respond to messages from the Associated Press seeking comment.
Witnesses said the gunman was wearing military-style clothing in addition to body armor, one of the officers said.
Bradin Keffert and Shane Hill, both 20, pulled into the parking lot just as the shooters were leaving. He described him as a white male in his late teens or early twenties, showing full camo, a black helmet and a rifle.
“He was standing there with a gun to his chin. We were like what’s up? Why is this kid with a gun in his face?” Keffert said. He fell on his knees. “He tore off his helmet, dropped his gun, and the police overpowered him.”
At the White House, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden is receiving regular updates about the shooting and its aftermath.
“The President has been briefed by his Homeland Security adviser about the gruesome shooting this afternoon in Buffalo, NY. He will continue to receive updates through the evening and tomorrow as further information develops,” he said, adding that the president and First Lady were . Prayers for the victims and their loved ones.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence and our condolences and prayers are with the victims and their families,” Topps Friendly Markets said in a statement.
Police closed the blockade, lined up with spectators, and yellow police tape surrounded the entire parking lot. Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz were at the scene late Saturday, gathering in a parking lot across the street from the Topps store to address the media.
More than two hours after the shooting, Erica Pugh-Matthews was waiting outside the store behind the police tapes.
“We would like to know the status of my aunt, my mother’s sister. She was there with her fiancé, they split up and went down separate corridors,” she said. “A bullet barely missed him. He was able to hide in a freezer, but he couldn’t get to my aunt and didn’t know where she was. We’d like words either way if she’s okay.” ”
Governor Kathy Hochul tweeted that she was closely monitoring the shooting at a grocery store in her hometown of Buffalo. He said the state authorities have offered help to the local authorities. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office said on social media that it has ordered all available personnel to assist Buffalo Police.
Justice Department spokesman Anthony Cooley said Attorney General Merrick Garland was briefed about the shooting.
The shooting comes a year after the March 2021 attack at King Sopers Grocery in Boulder, Colorado, which killed 10 people. Investigators have not released any information about why they believe the man accused in the attack targeted the supermarket.