Thirteen people — 11 of whom were African American — were shot, with three suffering non-life-threatening injuries, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said. Two victims were White, Gramaglia said.
“The shooter traveled hours from outside this community to perpetrate this crime on the people of Buffalo, a day when people were enjoying the sunshine, enjoying family, enjoying friends,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at a Saturday evening news conference. “People in a supermarket, shopping and bullets raining down on them. People’s lives being snuffed out in an instant for no reason.”
The suspect, Payton Gendron, an 18-year-old White man, was charged with first-degree murder, Buffalo City Court Chief Judge Craig Hannah told CNN, adding the district attorney’s office is planning on indicting the suspect and bringing additional charges. Gendron pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The suspect first opened fire in the store’s parking lot and then moved inside, where he continued shooting before surrendering to police, Gramaglia said.
The FBI is investigating the shooting as both a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism, said Stephen Belongia, FBI special agent in charge of the Buffalo field office.
Here’s what we know about the shooting and the investigation.
Suspect livestreamed the violence
At about 2:30 pm Saturday, the suspect drove to the Tops Friendly Markets supermarket on Jefferson Avenue, got out of his vehicle and shot four people in the parking lot, Gramaglia said. Three of those people died while another is expected to survive, Gramaglia said.
“He was very heavily armed,” the commissioner said. “He had tactical gear, he had a tactical helmet on, he had a camera that he was livestreaming what he was doing.”
The suspect used an assault weapon, said Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn.
Livestreaming platform Twitch confirmed Saturday the suspect used its platform to stream a live broadcast during the attack.
The company said it was “devastated” to hear about the shooting and added the user “has been indefinitely suspended from our service, and we are taking all appropriate action, including monitoring for any accounts rebroadcasting this content.”
After shooting four people in the parking lot, the suspect went inside the store and began shooting customers. A security guard inside the store who was a retired Buffalo police officer shot the suspect. But because the suspect wore heavy armor, the bullets did not have any effect, Gramaglia said.
The suspect shot and killed the security guard and continued working his way through the store, the commissioner said. When police arrived, the suspect put his gun to his neck but later dropped the gun and took off some of his gear, he added.
He surrendered and was transported to Buffalo police headquarters.
Investigators are looking into a manifest
Investigators were reviewing a purported manifesto Saturday posted online in connection with the Buffalo mass shooting probe, two federal law enforcement officials told CNN.
The manifesto independently obtained by CNN shortly after the attack and before authorities released the name of the suspect, is allegedly written by a person claiming to be Payton Gendron confessing to the attack.
The manifesto’s author says he bought ammo for some time but didn’t get serious about planning the attack until January.
The manifesto’s author goes on about his perceptions about the dwindling size of the white population and claims of ethnic and cultural replacement of whites.
A portion of the document is written in question-and-answer form. The manifesto’s author attributes the internet for most of his beliefs about him, describes himself as a fascist, a white supremacist, and an anti-Semite.
Erie County Sheriff John C. Garcia said the shooting was a “straight up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community.”
“This was pure evil,” the sheriff said.
The supermarket is located near the areas of Masten Park and Kingsley, which are predominantly Black neighborhoods.
“You have now a White … assailant in a (majority) Black community. Why did he choose this market?” CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem said.
When asked during Saturday’s news conference about why authorities are calling the mass shooting a hate crime, Flynn, the district attorney, said investigators have “certain pieces of evidence” that “indicate some racial animosity.”
“I’m not going to… elaborate on what exactly they are right now but we have evidence in custody right now that shows that there is some racial component,” Flynn said.
What we know about the victims
Of the 13 people shot, 11 are African American and two are White, said Gramaglia, the police commissioner.
Four of the people shot were store employees, he said. One, the security guard, was killed while the other three suffered “nonfatal wounds,” he said.
Authorities have not yet shared any further information, including the ages of the victims.
CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian, Shimon Prokupecz and Brian Stelter contributed to this report.