A shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday left at least ten people dead and three injured in what police are investigating as a hate crime and “racially motivated violent extremism.”
An 18-year-old man was taken into custody following the attack, which took place at TOPS Friendly Markets, the Buffalo Police Department said.
Local officials said the suspect drove ‘many hours’ to Buffalo from another county in New York state, armed with an assault rifle and wearing tactical gear and a camera he broadcasted with. the shooting live.
Erie County Sheriff John Garcia described the shooting as “pure evil” and a “racist hate crime committed by someone outside our community.”
Police said they had evidence showing there was a racial component to the shooting, without giving further details. Eleven of the victims were black and two were white. They would not comment on reports that the suspected gunman posted a racist manifesto online ahead of the attack.
The shooting began around 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time when the suspect allegedly shot four people in the TOPS parking lot, killing three people, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told reporters.
Once inside, he was shot in the chest by the store’s security guard, a retired Buffalo police officer, but the bullet hit the gunman’s armored vest. He returned fire and killed the security guard, Gramaglia said.
Gramaglia described the injuries sustained by three people as “not life threatening”.
Local police said they would charge the suspect with first-degree murder which carries a life sentence without parole. But the FBI said it is also investigating the case as a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism.
“This is the worst nightmare any community can face. And we’re hurting and bubbling right now as a community,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at a press conference. some of the pain that the families are feeling and that we are all feeling right now can’t even be explained.”
“I pray this doesn’t exacerbate racial tensions,” Brown said.
Trini Ross, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York, said her office is also treating the incident as violent extremism and a hate crime: “I hope this brings us together…not tears us apart. not,” she told reporters.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul said she was “monitoring the shooting closely” and that her administration had offered assistance to local officials.
The incident was the 198th mass shooting in the United States so far this year, which collectively claimed the lives of 210 people, according to Gun Violence Archive, which tracks the killings.
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