The Buffalo, N.Y. community was terrorized on Saturday (May 14) after a mass shooting at a local supermarket left 10 people dead and three injured. According to CNN the alleged shooter, 18-year-old Payton Gendron traveled 200 miles to the Tops Friendly Market store and live-streamed his violent attack. Law enforcement has labeled the mass shooting a racist hate crime that specifically targeted the Black community. Eleven of the 13 shooting victims were Black.
“The evidence that we have uncovered so far makes no mistake that this is an absolute racist hate crime. It will be prosecuted as a hate crime,” explained Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia. “This is someone who has hate in their heart, soul, and mind.”
“We continue to investigate this case as a hate crime, a federal hate crime, and as a crime perpetrated by a racially motivated, violent extremist,” stated Stephen Belongia, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Buffalo field office.
- Roberta A. Drury, 32, of Buffalo
- Margus D. Morrison, 52, of Buffalo
- Andre Mackneil, 53, of Auburn, N.Y.
- Aaron Salter, 55, of Lockport, N.Y.
- Geraldine Talley, 62, of Buffalo
- Celestine Chaney, 65, of Buffalo
- Heyward Patterson, 67, of Buffalo
- Katherine Massey, 72, of Buffalo
- Pearl Young, 77, of Buffalo
- Ruth Whitfield, 86, of Buffalo
- Zaire Goodman, 20, of Buffalo, was treated and released from hospital
- Jennifer Warrington, 50, of Tonawanda, N.Y., was treated and released from hospital
- Christopher Braden, 55, of Lackawanna, N.Y., had non-life-threatening injuries
— Jeff Preval (@JeffPrevalTV) May 15, 2022
According to a statement issued by Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn, Gendron was charged with first-degree murder on Saturday and is scheduled to return on Thursday morning (May 19) for a felony hearing. He was remanded without bail. If convicted of the charge, Gendron faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole. The release described Gendron as dressed in tactical gear and armed with an assault rifle, shooting four people outside of the grocery store and an additional nine people inside.
On Sunday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced resources for those in the Buffalo community impacted by the violent shooting. $2.8 million in federal and state funding will be available to provide additional services and support to individuals and families, and a partnership with ride-share companies Lyft and Uber to provide rides to and from local grocery stores as the Tops targeted in the shooting was located in a food desert, meaning it was the only grocery store within walking distance for many Buffalonians.
“The past 24 hours have been traumatizing for New Yorkers, and my administration will spare no effort to ensure the victims of this act of terrorism by a white supremacist are receiving all the resources and support they need,” Governor Hochul expressed. “The entire world is watching how we will come together as New Yorkers to overcome this unthinkable tragedy. Buffalo, my hometown, is the City of Good Neighbors and New York State will be good neighbors for them.”
ABC News reported Gendron had plans to continue his killing spree.
“We have uncovered information that if he escaped the [Tops] supermarket, he had plans to continue his attack,” shared Commissioner Gramaglia with the news outlet. “He had plans to continue driving down Jefferson Ave. to shoot more Black people … possibly go to another store [or] location.”
Shonnell Harris Teague, an operations manager at Tops, said the man was at the store on the Friday before the shooting where he was asked to leave after allegedly bothering customers. The next morning, he returned.
“I see him with his gear on and his gun and how it was all strapped on. … I seen all the other bodies on the ground. … It was just a nightmare,” described Teague.
According to the New York Times, last year as a senior at Susquehanna Valley High School, when he was 17-years-old, Gendron revealed his desire to commit a murder-suicide. Law enforcement then took him into custody under a state mental health law and had a psychiatric evaluation performed in a hospital. Gendron was released within a couple of days and eventually, fell from the radar of police officials.
Gendron planned the Buffalo attack over the course of months and with the shooting, he shared a 180-page document online where he explained his motivations, the pros, and cons of various firearms, and included a question-and-answer section.
The Anti-Defamation League reported in Gendron’s document, which the organization reviewed, that he expressed his goal was to “spread awareness to my fellow whites about the real problems the West is facing,” and “encourage further attacks that will eventually start the war that will save the Western world.”
President Joe Biden has issued an official White House statement on the mass shooting as the investigation continues.
“We are grateful for the bravery of members of law enforcement and other first responders who took immediate action to try to protect and save lives. The First Lady and I are praying for the victims and their families, and hearts all across this country are with the people of Buffalo,” expressed POTUS on Saturday.
“We still need to learn more about the motivation for today’s shooting as law enforcement does its work, but we don’t need anything else to state a clear moral truth: A racially motivated hate crime is abhorrent to the very fabric of this nation. Any act of domestic terrorism, including an act perpetrated in the name of a repugnant white nationalist ideology, is antithetical to everything we stand for in America. Hate must have no safe harbor. We must do everything in our power to end hate-fueled domestic terrorism.”