Buffalo shooting: Gunman deliberately sought black victims, mayor!
The man suspected of shooting dead 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, deliberately sought a site with a high black population, authorities say.
The suspect, Payton Gendron, 18, drove more than 320km ‘200 miles’ to carry out the attack, police say.
The attack is being investigated as an act of racially motivated violent extremism.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said the suspect arrived intending to take as many black lives as possible.
Questions are being asked about how he was able to carry out the attack when he was already on the radar of authorities.
Mr. Gendron had previously threatened a shooting at his high school last June, a law enforcement official told the Associated Press. He underwent a mental health examination afterward.
A 180-page document seemingly authored by Mr. Gedron has emerged, in which he describes himself as a fascist and a white supremacist.
I want to know what people knew and when they knew it, New York Governor Kathy Hochul told ABC News.
Police said the suspect had done reconnaissance of the area the day before the shooting.
Meanwhile, New York’s Attorney General Letitia James said her office would focus on extremist material online.
This event was committed by a sick, demented individual who was fuelled by a daily diet of hate, she said.
The shooting has stunned the local community. One of those attending a vigil on Sunday told Reuters: It just hurts, why somebody would do that.
Of the 13 people shot, police said 11 were black. Among those reported killed were a man buying cupcakes for his son’s birthday and a woman who had gone shopping after visiting her husband at a nursing home.
Christchurch, El Paso, Pittsburgh, and now Buffalo are all places where racially-motivated assailants, radicalized online, have taken their ideology to deadly extremes.
The gunman in Buffalo, like ones before, live-streamed his violent rampage and left a so-called manifesto online. It details his extremist beliefs and is packed with cherry-picked statistics, conspiracy theories, and internet memes.
The file contains reams of racist and anti-Semitic sludge along with straightforward admissions that the author is a fascist and a white supremacist.
If the author can be believed – as the document also clearly contains disinformation and attempts to trick reporters into reporting false stories he was radicalized early on during the Covid pandemic, on extremist websites and message boards.
Like after the 2019 mosque shootings in Christchurch, big social media companies will struggle to remove footage of the attack.
And surely the American debate over gun control will be reignited, however briefly.
But the underlying problem seems as intractable as ever: a worldwide network of young violent extremists, some of whom are motivated to launch deadly attacks against innocent people.
The attacker, dressed in military gear, drove into the car park at Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo at about 14:30 EST 19:30 BST and began live-streaming the rampage.
A security guard fired several shots back but the gunman’s bulletproof vest stopped one that hit him, police said. He then killed the guard and stalked through the store firing at other people.
Mr. Gendron was arrested after the attack and pleaded not guilty to murder charges.
Witnesses described horrific scenes. It’s like a nightmare you see this on TV, you hear about it on TV but I never thought I would be one of them, said one.
US President Joe Biden said facts were still being established but strongly condemned racist extremism. We must all work together to address the hate that remains a stain on the soul of America, he said.
In a later statement, the White House announced that Mr. Biden and the First Lady would travel to Buffalo on Tuesday to meet with the community.
Saturday’s attack is thought to be the worst mass shooting so far in the US in 2022. Some 40,000 deaths a year involve firearms in America, a figure that includes suicides – and mass shooting events occur frequently.
Less than a day after the attack in New York state, police in southern California said one person had been killed and five injured in a shooting at a church in Orange County.
A man in his sixties was arrested after some of the churchgoers tackled him and tied him up by the ankles using an extension cord, a local sheriff said.