At least 10 people were killed and three more injured Saturday during a mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York supermarket.
The gunman — described as an 18-year-old white male wearing military-style clothing, body armor and a helmet and armed with a high-powered rifle — was taken into custody by police after the shooting rampage at the Tops Friendly Market, where the shooter fired approximately 60 shots from a military-grade weapon.
“The shooter was not from this community,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said Saturday. “In fact, the shooter traveled hours from outside this community to perpetrate this crime on the people of Buffalo.”
BREAKING: BPD on scene of a mass shooting at the Tops in the 1200 block of Jefferson Avenue. Police say multiple people have been struck by gunfire. The shooter is in custody. Motorists and residents are urged to avoid the area.
— Buffalo Police Dept (@BPDAlerts) May 14, 2022
There are reports that the still-unidentified gunman live-streamed the mass shooting on Twitch — police admitted that the gunman had a camera affixed to his helmet during the attack — and left behind a “manifesto” touting white supremacist conspiracy theories. Buffalo police did not confirm those reports, but said they were investigating to see if the attack was racially motivated. Twitch said in a statement that the suspect’s alleged “user” account has been suspended, and that they’re working to ensure the livestream isn’t rebroadcast.
The Associated Press reports that the supermarket was located in a predominately black neighborhood outside downtown Buffalo. Three of the victims were shot and killed in the parking lot outside the store, the Buffalo News reported, before the shooter entered Tops and opened fire. After exiting the supermarket, the shooter encountered officers.
When police arrived, the gunman first threatened to shoot himself. “He was standing there in his military gear with his weapon to his chin, looking like he was going to blow his head off,” witness Braedyn Kaphart told the Buffalo News. “We weren’t sure what was happening. As he continued to do that, he dropped to his knees still appearing as if he might shoot himself.” The suspect ultimately handcuffed by police.
“This was a straight up racially motivated hate crime,” Erie County sheriff John C. Garcia said at a press conference Saturday. The FBI also called the mass shooting a “case of racially motivated violent extremism,” the New York Times reports.
“I am closely monitoring the shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a Buffalo native, tweeted Saturday. “We have offered assistance to local officials. If you are in Buffalo, please avoid the area and follow guidance from law enforcement and local officials. President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland were also briefed on the shooting, the New York Times reported, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were at the location of the shooting.
Tops Friendly Markets said in a statement, “We are shocked and deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”
Saturday’s shooting came just under 14 months after a similar mass shooting at a Boulder, Colorado supermarket left 10 people dead in March 2021.