The 18-year-old suspected of opening fire at a Buffalo supermarket Saturday told authorities he was targeting the Black community, according to an official familiar with the investigation. The alleged gunman made disturbing statements describing his motive and state of mind following his arrest, the official said. The statements were clear and filled with hate toward the Black community.
Investigators also uncovered other information from search warrants and other methods indicating the alleged shooter was “studying” previous hate attacks and shootings, the official said. The revelation comes a day after a gunman killed 10 people and wounded three others at the Tops Friendly Markets store in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo. Eleven of the people who were shot were Black, officials said. The victims range in age from 20 to 86, police said. Buffalo police identified all 13 victims Sunday. Among them were a former police officer who tried to stop the shooter, the octogenarian mother of the city’s former fire commissioner and a long-term substitute teacher.
Two people remain hospitalized in stable condition, a spokesman for Erie County Medical Center said Saturday night.
The suspect was identified as Payton S. Gendron, a rifle-toting 18-year-old from Conklin, New York, who allegedly wrote a White supremacist manifesto online, traveled about 200 miles to the store and livestreamed the attack, authorities said.Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Sunday the attack was a racist hate crime and will be prosecuted as such.
Investigators believe the suspect acted on his own in the shooting. The suspect was in Buffalo a day before the shooting and did some reconnaissance at the Tops Friendly Markets store, the commissioner said.
About the attack: The suspect drove to the store around 2:30 p.m. ET. Wearing tactical gear, he shot four people in the parking lot, Gramaglia said, and then went inside the store, where a security guard engaged him. The suspect shot and killed the guard and then “continued to work his way through the store,” Gramaglia said.
The shooting suspect’s racist statement: A 180-page diatribe attributed to the shooting suspect, which posted online just before the deadly rampage, shows in chilling detail the meticulous planning that apparently went into the racist massacre.
Alongside tirades about his false belief that White Americans were being “replaced” by people of other races, the 18-year-old suspect allegedly included in the writing a hand-drawn map of the store he targeted, a minute-by-minute plan of the deadly attack, and pages upon pages listing the equipment and clothing he planned to wear – from military-style body armor down to the brand of his underwear.
Gendron, the suspect, surrendered to police and was taken into custody. He was charged with first-degree murder, prosecutors said, and pleaded not guilty in court Saturday night, Buffalo City Court Chief Judge Craig. Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said Gendron is currently under suicide watch. On Sunday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced $2.8 million in federal and state funding for the victims and their families, according to a statement from her office.