Authorities believe the shootings in a mostly black New York City neighborhood were motivated by racial animus by an 18-year-old white guy.
During a scuffle at the store, the suspect, identified as Payton Gendron in court documents, was detained by police in Buffalo, NY.
Before he entered the business, he opened fire in the parking lot and streamed the incident live.
Joe Biden, the Vice President of the United States, slammed what he called a “abhorrent” behavior.
According to the FBI in Buffalo, this event is being investigated as both a hate crime and an example of racially-motivated violent extremism. There is evidence of “race hatred.”
During the shooting, the assailant used racist epithets and stated that a racial epithet was inscribed on his weapon. Racist language and views were reportedly contained in a manifesto he allegedly shared online.
According to the police, the suspect drove more than 200 kilometers before arriving in the primarily black part of town.
Three persons were shot dead in the parking lot, and seven more were slain inside the store, according to the police report. There were a large number of people of color among the victims.
“He got out of his car. He was armed to the teeth. He was armed to the teeth. He was wearing a military-style headgear when I saw him. A camera was attached to his body, and he was live-streaming his actions as he went along “Joseph Gramaglia, Buffalo’s police commissioner, made the announcement.
After a tense standoff, he claimed the man gave over his firearm and was brought into custody. First-degree murder charges were eventually filed against him in court.
Three other persons, all employees of a supermarket, were injured in the incident, however none of their injuries were life-threatening.
An ex-cop who had been hired to serve as a security guard at the business, Aaron Salter, was shot and killed in the incident. The suspect shot him dead after he attempted to shoot him, according to police.
Two of the other persons slain have been identified in the local media as Ruth Whitfield and Katherine Massey. A christian church deacon who still actually worked as a car driver was also slain, Buffalo News says.
He told reporters that “this is the biggest nightmare any community can experience and we’re grieving, we’re furious right now,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told them.
“We cannot allow this terrible individual split our community or our nation,” he continued.
According to Grady Lewis, a witness who was standing across the street, the guy started shooting. A witness added, “I observed the guy bend down and fire at individuals in an army-style manner.”
Shonnell Harris, who was working at the business during the incident, told Buffalo News that she heard more than 70 rounds as she raced to flee the facility via a backdoor.
“There was no room left in the shop. if it was the second weekend,” she remarked. “It feels like a nightmare.”
One police officer told Buffalo News about the aftermath of the attack: “I feel as if I’ve entered a horror film, except that everything is real. It is Armageddon-like”.
Later on Saturday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared the suspect was a “white supremacist who has committed in an act of terrorism”.
In Buffalo, she described it as “a military type execution targeting folks who just wanted to purchase groceries in a neighborhood grocery”.
President Joe Biden stated in a statement that he and First Lady Jill had their thoughts and prayers with the victims and their families.
Racially-motivated hate crimes are “abhorrent to the fundamental foundation of our country,” he added. To stop domestic terrorism motivated by hatred, we must do all in our power.
Hate crimes in the United States reached a record high in 2020, with over 10,000 persons reporting crimes against them because of who they are or what they believe in. Asian and African-Americans were particularly targeted, according to FBI data.
The FBI does not require police to provide hate crime statistics, thus those figures are regarded to be an undercount.
The incident in Buffalo on Saturday is expected to be the biggest mass shooting in the United States thus far in 2022, and it will also exacerbate the tense political debate in the United States over gun regulation.
Some 40,000 people die each year in the United States because of guns, which includes suicides.