Police in New York have arrested an 18-year-old white man after shooting dead 10 people in a black neighbourhood of in what is suspected to be a racially motivated attack.
The man, named as Payton Gendron in court papers, entered a supermarket in the city of Buffalo on Saturday afternoon, May 14, before opening fire. He livestreamed the attack online.
The attacker reportedly shouted racial slurs during the shooting and suggested that he had a racial slur written on his weapon. He also posted a manifesto online which included racist language and ideas.
The suspect is believed to have driven for about 200 miles to reach the black community section of the city. Thirteen people were shot in total and the majority of the victims were black, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said.
The three wounded victims – who all worked at the supermarket – have not sustained life-threatening injuries.
He was arrested after a stand-off with police at the scene.
“We are investigating this incident as both a hate crime and a case of racially-motivated violent extremism,” said Stephen Belongia, from the FBI’s Buffalo office, adding there was evidence of “racial animosity.”
“He exited his vehicle. He was very heavily armed. He had tactical gear. He had a tactical helmet on. He had a camera that he was live-streaming what he was doing,”
He said the suspect surrendered his weapon after a tense stand-off and was taken into custody. He later appeared in court charged with first degree murder.
“This is the worst nightmare that any community can face and we are hurting, we are seething right now,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told reporters.
“We cannot let this hateful person divide our community or our country,” he added.
Later on Saturday night, May 14, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said the suspect was a “white supremacist who has engaged in an act of terrorism”.
A clip from the live stream on Twitch that is claiming to have been a live stream video of the mass shooting at the Tops Market in #Buffalo, #NewYork. The video is NOT graphic, it shows the moments before the shooting begins. pic.twitter.com/KrlgYgdaFY
— Ice Analytics (@ice_analytics) May 14, 2022
This was “a military style execution targeting people who simply wanted to buy groceries in a neighbourhood store,” she said while visiting Buffalo.
In a statement, US President Joe Biden said he and the First Lady were praying for the victims and their families.
“A racially-motivated hate crime is abhorrent to the very fabric of this nation,” he said. “We must do everything in our power to end hate-fuelled domestic terrorism.”
Saturday’s attack in Buffalo is the worst mass shooting so far in the US in 2022. In the US about 40,000 deaths a year involve firearms in America.
(With reports from NY Times)