Payton Gendron: What we know about suspect in Buffalo mass shooting

Payton Gendron: What we know about suspect in Buffalo mass shooting

Ten people were killed in a mass shooting on Saturday at a Tops grocery store in Buffalo, New York, in what authorities have called an “evil” racially motivated act of violent extremism, and perhaps the worst mass shooting in city history.

Payton Gendron, of Conklin, New York, was arraigned on Saturday and charged with first-degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty.

Here’s everything we know about what happened:

How many victims were there?

Ten people were killed in the Saturday shooting, including a retired Buffalo police officer working as a security guard in the store, according to officials.

Another three people sustained non-lethal injuries, they added in a press conference on Saturday.

Among the victims, 11 are Black, police said, and four are store employees.

Have police arrested a suspect?

Police have arrested Payton Gendron, an 18-year-old white male, and he has been charged with first-degree murder, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

Was the Buffalo shooting racially motivated?

Officials are investigating the shooting as a hate crime and domestic extremism incident.

“This was pure evil,” Erie County sheriff John Garcia said on Saturday. “It was straight up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community.”

Police also said they have evidence in their possession that indicates a racist motive to the attack, though they wouldn’t confirm media reports that Mr Gendron left behind a hate-filled manifesto online.

The gunman reportedly posted a racist manifesto on notorious online messageboard 4chan, which included white supremacist ideas about “great replacement” theory and IQ differences between races.

The document says he chose his target because it had the highest concentration of Black people nearby, The New York Times reports. It also describes how the shooter was “bored” and radicalised during Covid lockdowns in 2020 by reading the messageboard, and cites the Christchurch, New Zealand shooter as inspiration.

What sort of weapon did the alleged shooter use?

The shooter was carrying “tactical gear” including a military-style rifle and body armour, police said.

A security guard inside the Tops store shot at and struck the suspected gunman during the mass shooting, but the armour plating stopped the bullet, officials said on Saturday.

Mr Gendron was using a legally purchased rifle outfitted with modifications that are illegal in New York state, according to Governor Kathy Hochul, who noted such “illegal magazines” could be purchased legally in nearby states like Pennsylvania.

How did the shooting unfold?

The suspect arrived at the supermarket after 2.30pm ET and shot four people in the parking lot, killing three, before going into the store and firing multiple rounds.

Some hid as the gunman made his way through the market.

A Tops Markets employee who identified himself as Will G toldThe Buffalo News that he hid with a group of people in a supermarket walk-in cooler as gunfire rang out in the store.

“I just heard shots. Shots and shots and shots,” he told the outlet. “It sounded like things were falling over. … I hid. I just hid. I wasn’t going to leave that room.”

The individual was surrounded by police in the vestibule of the store after the shooting rampage took place. He put his gun to his neck before officers persuaded him to drop his weapons and surrender.

Has the suspect been charged?

Payton Gendron has been charged with first-degree murder and could face up to life in prison without parole.

His next court appearance will occur on Thursday, 19 May.

What’s next for the investigation?

Police are now working to secure and investigate a sprawling crime scene involving both the parking lot and interior of the Tops store in Buffalo.

Agencies including the Buffalo Police Department, New York state police, the FBI, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are all assisting on the case.

Additional charges could be forthcoming at the federal level.

What are officials saying about the shooting?

Leaders at all levels of government have spoken out following the attack.

“The President has been briefed by his Homeland Security Advisor on the horrific shooting in Buffalo, NY this afternoon,” the White House said in a statement. “He will continue to receive updates throughout the evening and tomorrow as further information develops. The President and the First Lady are praying for those who have been lost and for their loved ones.”

“The eyes of the nation are on Buffalo,” US Representative Brian Higgins said on Saturday at a press conference. “Those are full of tears and full of sympathy for the violence and tragedy that’s been perpetrated on good innocent people.”

“This should not happen in this comm and any community in this country,” Buffalo mayor Byron Brown added. “This is the City of Good Neighbours. We are a loving community. We are prayerful that this will not exacerbate racial tensions. We cannot let an evil person divide this comm and an evil person divide our question.”

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