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16 May 2022

Police call fatal mass shooting ‘racially motivated violent extremism’

Police call fatal mass shooting ‘racially motivated violent extremism’

A mass shooting which has killed at least 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo has been described as “racially motived violent extremism” by authorities.

Police said a white, 18-year-old man in military gear used a helmet camera to livestream the attack on mostly Black shoppers and workers on Saturday.

For at least two minutes, he broadcast the shooting live on the streaming platform Twitch before the service ended his transmission.

Police said he shot 11 Black victims and two who were white before surrendering to police. Later, he appeared before a judge in a paper medical gown and was arraigned on murder charges.

The suspected gunman was identified as Payton Gendron, of Conklin, New York, about 200 miles southeast of Buffalo.

Speaking near the scene of the attack, governor Kathy Hochul said: “It is my sincere hope that this individual, this white supremacist who just perpetrated a hate crime on an innocent community, will spend the rest of his days behind bars. And heaven help him in the next world as well.”

It wasn’t immediately clear why Gendron travelled to Buffalo to stage the assault. A clip apparently from his Twitch feed, posted on social media, showed him arriving at the supermarket in his car.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said the gunman shot four people outside the store, three fatally.

Inside the store, a security guard who was a retired Buffalo police officer fired multiple shots, but a bullet that hit the gunman’s bulletproof vest had no effect, the commissioner added.

The gunman then killed the guard before stalking through the store shooting other victims. Upon being confronted by police, the suspect had put the gun to his own neck before officers talked him into dropping the weapon.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told a news conference: “This is the worst nightmare that any community can face, and we are hurting and we are seething right now.

“The depth of pain that families are feeling and that all of us are feeling right now cannot even be explained.”

At an earlier news briefing, Erie County Sheriff John Garcia pointedly called the shooting a hate crime.

“This was pure evil. It was straight up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community, outside of the city of good neighbours… coming into our community and trying to inflict that evil upon us,” the sheriff said.

Tops Friendly Markets released a statement saying, “We are shocked and deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”

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