At least 10 people were shot and killed at a supermarket in Buffalo on Saturday when a gunman wielding an assault-style weapon opened fire on employees and customers. The shooting is being described by police as a “racially motivated hate crime.”
The suspect, identified as 18-year-old Payton Gendron, approached the building draped in armored tactical gear and a helmet outfitted with a camera, which he used to live-stream the incident on Twitch. The company says that his broadcast was taken down and his account has been indefinitely suspended.
John Normile / Getty Images
The gunman began by opening fire in the parking lot of Tops Friendly Markets, before moving inside the building where he engaged in a standoff with a security guard on duty. After shooting and killing the guard, he moved throughout the store, killing more individuals, before police arrived on the scene. Police met with the shooter at the front door and convinced him to surrender.
“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?” 20-year-old Braedyn Kephart, who witnessed the incident told the Associated Press. “He dropped to his. He ripped off his helmet, dropped his gun, and was tackled by the police.”
“This was pure evil,” said Erie County Sheriff John Garcia. “It was straight up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community, outside of the City of Good neighbors … coming into our community and trying to inflict that evil upon us.”
The supermarket was located in a primarily Black neighborhood with 11 of the 13 people who were shot being Black.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence and our thoughts and prayer are with the victims and their families,” Tops Friendly Markets said in a statement to CNN. “Our top priority remains the health and well-being of our associates and customers. We appreciate the quick response by local law enforcement and are providing all available resources to assist authorities in the ongoing investigation.”
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