Ten people were left dead and three others injured in a deadly shooting on Saturday after an 18-year-old opened fire in a New York supermarket.
On May 14, around 2:30 p.m., several people were at a Tops grocery store located on Jefferson Avenue and Riley Street in Buffalo, New York, when Payton Gendron arrived, having allegedly traveled about 200 miles from Conklin, New York, to carry out a planned attack on the shoppers.
He reportedly first shot four people in front of the market before continuing his violence inside.
Officials said that once in the store, Gendron exchanged fire with store security guard Aaron Salter, a veteran police officer. According to Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia, Salter fired several bullets at Gendron before the suspect fatally shot him.
After that, Gendron allegedly went around the store, shooting many more people. When approached by officers, Gendron put his rifle to his neck before lowering it and surrendering, according to the police chief.
Among the deceased victims were Ruth Whitfield, 86; Pearl Young, 77; Katherine Massey, 72; Hayward Patterson, 67; Celestine Chaney, 65; Geraldine Talley, 62; Aaron Salter Jr, 55; Andre Mackniel, 53; Margus Morrison, 52; and Roberta Drury, 32. Three other unidentified people were shot but survived.
Authorities are investigating the shooting because 11 out of the 13 victims were black, and Gendron’s computer reportedly showed he had visited sites whose content comprised white supremacy ideologies and race-based conspiracy theories.
“The evidence that we have uncovered so far makes no mistake: this is an absolute racist hate crime. It will be prosecuted as a hate crime,” said Gramaglia. “This is someone who has hate in their heart, soul, and mind, and there is no mistake that this is the direction that this is going in.”
Gendron allegedly proclaimed himself a white supremacist and that his intended attack was an act of terrorism in a long 180-page document that officials suspect he wrote and put online. The document’s author also supports neo-Nazism and revels in antisemitism.
Its pages illustrate months of planning leading up to the attack allegedly carried out by Gendron, including a lengthy discussion of weaponry and body armor, as well as possible documentation that he had legally purchased a Bushmaster rifle months prior.
Gramaglia said investigators apparently discovered that Gendron had a rifle and shotgun in the car and an AR-15 in his possession inside the store.
Gendron was charged with murder in the first degree. He was arraigned late Saturday and jailed without bail after pleading not guilty.
He will be in court again on Thursday and could spend life in prison without parole if convicted.
The mass shooting is not Gendron’s first encounter with the law.
According to sources, someone called the state police at the end of Gendron’s senior year to report that he had made disturbing comments threatening to shoot up graduation-related events.
On June 8, 2021, authorities were concerned enough about Gendron’s claims that they brought him into custody and then to a neighboring hospital for a mental health evaluation.