BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Ten people were killed, three others were wounded when investigators say a heavily armed man opened fire outside and then inside the Tops Markets on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo around 2:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
The suspect, identified as Payton Gendron of Conklin, New York, surrendered on scene and was arraigned Saturday night on first-degree murder charges. He drove three and a half hours and live streamed the deadly rampage on social media, according to investigators.
Local, federal and state authorities are calling the mass shooting a hate crime and act of terrorism targeting Black people in a predominantly Black neighborhood of Buffalo. Eleven of the victims were Black, two were White.
The shooter, according to police, arrived in the parking lot in tactical gear, including a helmet and armor. He shot several people in the parking lot before entering the store.
Inside the store, the shooter was confronted and shot by a security officer, who has been identified by police sources as retired Buffalo Police Officer Aaron Salter Jr. The security officer's round was stopped by the shooter's armor. The shooter then shot and killed the officer. The shooter was ultimately confronted by Buffalo Police Department officers, who were able to convince him to disarm himself and surrender.
Of the 13 people who were shot, nine were shoppers. Four others were employees, including Salter Jr.
Of the three shooting victims who survived, police described their injuries as "non-life threatening." They were taken to ECMC. One of the victims has since been released from the hospital.
The FBI is investigating the shooting as an act of racially-motivated violent extremism, which legally defines the mass shooting as an act of terror. The FBI is inviting anyone with tips or video evidence from the shooting to provide them on their website.
"It strikes us in our very hearts to know that there’s such evil that lurks out there," Governor Kathy Hochul said in a news briefing Saturday night in Buffalo.
Erie County Sheriff John Garcia called the shooting "pure evil," and said it was a racially-motivated hate crime.
"This is the worst nightmare any community can face," Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said.
I just talked to an 8-year-old girl who hid in a cooler inside the grocery store.— Taylor Epps (@taylor_epps_) May 14, 2022
She was shopping with her dad and ran out the back of the store to safety.
8 years old. @WKBW
Investigators are looking at multiple online postings that may be associated with the shooter that include praise for South Carolina church shooter Dylann Roof and the New Zealand mosque shooter Brenton Tarrant, according to the sources.
The FBI and New York State Police searched a home associated with Conklin Saturday night in Conklin, which is near Binghamton in Broome County.
Authorities did not identify the social media platform the suspect used to livestream the shooting. But following the attack, the video game live streaming platform Twitch said it had indefinitely suspended a user over the shooting in Buffalo.
"Twitch has a zero-tolerance policy against violence of any kind and works swiftly to respond to all incidents," a Twitch spokesperson said in a statement. "The user has been indefinitely suspended from our service, and we are taking all appropriate action, including monitoring for any accounts rebroadcasting this content."
Tops spokesperson Kathleen Sautter issued the following statement Saturday afternoon, writing:
We are shocked and deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Our top priority remains the health and well-being of our associates and customers. We appreciate the quick response of local law enforcement and are providing all available resources to assist authorities in the ongoing investigation.