BUFFALO (AP/WJW) — A gunman sporting a rifle and body armor opened fire in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, killing 10 people and shooting another three people before being taken into custody Saturday afternoon.
Officials said during a press conference that the suspect is not from Buffalo and is from hours away in New York. He is described as an 18-year-old white male but officials did not announce his name. A US attorney said the shooting was racially motivated and is considered a hate crime, which the FBI is investigating. Police said it appears the suspect was alone.
The suspect reportedly shot four people in the parking lot, three of whom died, before entering the store. A retired officer working security attempted to shoot the man but he was too armored. The security guard was shot and killed.
Of those shot, four were store employees, officials said, otherwise they were customers of the store.
Officials said the suspect is being charged with murder in the first degree.
“This is the worst nightmare that any community can face, and we are hurting and we are seething right now,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at the news conference. “The depth of pain that families are feeling and that all of us are feeling right now cannot even be explained.”
Details on the number of additional people shot at the Tops Friendly Market and their conditions weren’t immediately available.
The suspected gunman was later identified as Payton Gendron, of Conklin, a New York state community about 200 miles southeast of Buffalo, two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press. The officials were not permitted to speak publicly on the matter and did so on the condition of anonymity.
Wearing a hospital gown, Gendron was arraigned in court Saturday evening on first-degree murder charges and ordered detained without bail. Another court hearing is scheduled for next week.
Police officials and a spokesperson for the supermarket chain did not immediately respond to messages from the AP seeking comment.
The gunman entered the supermarket with a rifle and opened fire, one of the officials said. Investigators believe the man may have been livestreaming the shooting and were looking into whether he had posted a manifesto online, the official said.
The supermarket is in a predominately Black neighborhood, about 3 miles (5 kilometers) north of downtown Buffalo. The surrounding area is primarily residential, with a Family Dollar store and fire station near the store.
Witnesses reported the gunman was wearing military-style clothing and body armor, one of the officials said
Braedyn Kephart and Shane Hill, both 20, pulled into the parking lot just as the shooter was exiting. They described him as a white male in his late teens or early twenties sporting full camo, a black helmet and what appeared to be a rifle.
“He was standing there with the gun to his chin. We were like what the heck is going on? Why does this kid have a gun to his face?” Kephart said. He dropped to his knees. “He ripped off his helmet, dropped his gun, and was tackled by the police.”
Police closed off the block, lined by spectators, and yellow police taped surrounded the full parking lot. Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz were at the scene late Saturday afternoon, gathered in a parking lot across the street from the Tops store and expected to address the media.
The shooting came little more than a year after a March 2021 attack at a King Soopers grocery in Boulder, Colorado, that killed 10 people.