Payton Gendron ID’d as gunman in racially motivated mass shooting at Buffalo’s Tops supermarket
Law enforcement identified 18-year-old Payton Gendron of Conklin, NY, as the gunman. BigDawg via REUTERS
Ns News Online Desk: New York USA- A “heavily armed ” white teenager clad in military-style tactical gear slaughtered ten people Saturday in a “racially motivated” mass shooting he live-streamed at a Buffalo supermarket, authorities said.
The shooter — identified by law enforcement as 18-year-old Payton Gendron — drove from “hours away” in Conklin, New York, to a Tops Friendly Market on Jefferson Avenue, in a predominantly black neighborhood, officials said.
Eleven of the victims were black and two were white.
“We are investigating this incident as both a hate crime and a case of racially-motivated violent extremism,” said Stephen Belongia, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Buffalo field office said during a press conference.
Erie County Sheriff John Garcia gave a more blunt assessment. “This was pure evil. It was a straight-up racially motivated hate crime,” he said.
The shooter, who sources said had the N-word scrawled in white paint on one of his weapons, arrived at the market at around 2:30 p.m. He “was very heavily armed. He had tactical gear on. He had a tactical helmet on,” Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said.
He also had a camera to livestream the shooting, Gramaglia said. He was armed with a semiautomatic rifle, a hunting rifle and a shotgun which were all purchased legally, NBC News reported, citing a senior law enforcement official. The gunman opened fire in the parking lot, killing three people and injuring a fourth, he said.
He then went inside the store, where he encountered longtime “beloved” security guard and former Buffalo cop Aaron Salter, Jr., who tried to stop him, Gramaglia said.
The guard’s bullet couldn’t pierce the attacker’s armor, he said.
The shooter opened fire on Salter, killing him, Gramaglia said, before allegedly working his way through the rest of the store.
Buffalo cops confronted the shooter, who at one point put his gun to his own neck before authorities were able to talk him into surrendering, officials said.
The gunman was arraigned on Saturday night, surrounded by police when he appeared in court masked and wearing a white paper jail gown. He was slapped with first-degree murder charges and his court-appointed lawyer entered a not guilty plea, local media reported. It’s not the first time Gendron has come to the attention of law enforcement, according to The Buffalo News, which reported the teen had allegedly threatened his fellow high school students in June 2021.
A school official reported Gendron “had made statements indicating that he wanted to do a shooting, either at a graduation ceremony, or sometime after,” a source told the news outlet.
State Police investigated, and Gendron was referred for counseling and a mental health evaluation, The Buffalo News said.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Biden had been briefed on the shooting.
“He will continue to receive updates throughout the evening and tomorrow as further information develops. The president and the first lady are praying for those who have been lost and for their loved ones,” she said.