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What we know so far about the Buffalo mass shooting

People pray outside the scene of a shooting at a supermarket, in Buffalo, N.Y., on Sunday. A day earlier, a white 18-year-old killed 10 people and wounded three in what authorities described as "racially motivated violent extremism."
Image credit: Matt Rourke


A white, 18-year-old gunman allegedly carried out a racist attack at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., on Saturday, killing 10 people and injuring three others, according to authorities. Almost all of the victims were Black. The suspect, who livestreamed the mass shooting, is believed to be the author of a screed posted online detailing his white supremacist ideologies and his plan to target a Black community in New York.

Here’s what else we know.

The shooter faces life in prison

The suspect has been charged with first-degree murder. If convicted, he would face a maximum sentence of life without parole.

Officials have said they are investigating the mass shooting as a racially motivated hate crime and are also considering a terrorism charge. Separately, the FBI is investigating the shooting as both a hate crime and racially motivated violent extremism.

“The evidence we have uncovered so far makes no mistake. This is an absolute racist hate crime that will be prosecuted as a hate crime. This is someone who has hate in their heart, soul and mind,” said Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia.

11 of the 13 victims were Black

Buffalo Police have not yet released the names of the victims, but loved ones have been sharing details about those who were killed in the shooting. Some of the victims actively worked to serve their community. Of the 13 total shot, 11 were Black, two were white. Four of the victims were store employees.

Aaron Salter, a former police lieutenant who worked as a security guard at the store, was shot and killed after confronting the shooter at the front entrance.

Ruth Whitfield, 86, was a “beloved wife, mother, and grandmother,” her lawyer said.

Pearly Young, who ran a weekly food pantry, was shopping for groceries when she was killed.

Katherine “Kat” Massey was a writer who wrote about gun violence in her community and was part of a community group that helped local residents.

Heyward Patterson would drive residents to get their groceries and volunteered at his church in his free time.

Celestine Chaney was at the grocery store to get shrimp and strawberry shortcake. The 65-year-old delighted in her role as a grandmother most of all.

Roberta Drury, 32, was at the supermarket to get food for dinner. She didn’t live in Buffalo but was there to be with her brother.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul says $2.8 million in federal and state funding will go toward helping victims’ families cover funeral and burial expenses of up to $6,000, as well as medical expenses and counseling.

This is how police say the attack unfolded

The alleged gunman drove more than 200 miles from his small hometown of Conklin, N.Y., and arrived in east Buffalo the day before the attack to conduct “reconnaissance” on the grocery store, police said.

The shooting at Tops Friendly Markets began at 2:30 p.m. ET in a parking lot outside the store, located in a predominantly Black neighborhood about 3 miles from downtown.

The gunman stepped out of his car wearing tactical gear and opened fire with an assault-style rifle, shooting four people, officials said. Three of those people died. After the gunman worked his way into the store, the security guard Aaron Salter attempted to the stop the shooter by firing his gun, but the gunman’s body armor shielded him from the bullet. The suspect then shot and killed Salter.

The suspect was eventually confronted by police at the front of the store. He briefly pointed the rifle at his neck before police persuaded him to drop his guns and surrender.

The gunman livestreamed the attack the platform Twitch, the company told NPR. The stream was shut down less than 2 minutes after the violence began, the company said.

The shooter is an apparent white supremacist who left plans for a racist attack

The suspected gunman, Payton S. Gendron, allegedly published a 180-page document to the anonymous message board 4chan before carrying out the attack. The pages repeat a series of white supremacist ideologies, including a racist conspiracy theory known as “the great replacement,” in an attempt to justify his plan to target and murder African Americans.

The screed’s author, who has the same name as the suspected shooter, says “extreme boredom” during the pandemic led to his radicalization. The gunman who carried out the massacre of 51 people at two New Zealand mosques in 2019 promoted the same racist theory.

The gunman used a Bushmaster AR-15-style assault rifle in the Buffalo shooting with an attachable high-capacity magazine — a banned device in New York, meaning it was illegally purchased or illegally transported across state lines, said Gov. Hochul. Police also recovered a second rifle and a handgun from his car.

The suspect had threatened a shooting at his high school last year. He was subsequently sent to a hospital for a mental health evaluation that lasted a day and a half.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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