Buffalo shooter targeted black neighborhood, officials say | National


BUFFALO, NY (AP) — The 18-year-old white man who fatally shot 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket researched local demographics and arrived a day early to conduct a reconnaissance for the purpose. to kill as many black people as possible, officials said. Sunday.

The racially motivated attack came a year after the shooter was taken to hospital by state police after making threats involving his high school, authorities say.

He was not charged with a crime and was discharged from hospital within a day and a half, police said, but the revelation raised questions about his access to weapons and whether he could have been under longer watch. close by law enforcement.

Buffalo’s attack caused grief and anger in the predominantly black neighborhood around Tops Friendly Market. A group of people gathered there on Sunday afternoon to lead chants of ‘Black Lives Matter’ and mourn the victims, including an 86-year-old woman who had just visited her husband in a nursing home and a supermarket security guard, both black. .

“Someone has filled their heart so full of hate that it would destroy and devastate our community,” said Reverend Denise Walden-Glenn.

Speaking at the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service at the United States Capitol, President Joe Biden said: “We must all work together to fight the hate that remains a stain on America’s soul. .” The White House later announced that the president and first lady would travel to Buffalo on Tuesday to “mourn with the community.”

Buffalo’s attack was the deadliest of several shootings across the country in recent days. Milwaukee officials imposed a curfew after 21 people were injured in three separate shootings near an entertainment district where thousands gathered for an NBA playoff game on Friday. Three other shootings over the weekend in the Midwestern city left three people dead.

On Sunday, two shootings – one at a Houston flea market and another at a California church – left three people dead and others injured.

As the country reeled from Buffalo’s attack, new details emerged about the shooter’s past and Saturday’s rampage, which the shooter streamed live on Twitch. New York Governor Kathy Hochul, from Buffalo, asked tech companies to tell her whether they had done “everything humanly possible” to ensure they monitored violent content as soon as it appeared.

“If not, I will hold you accountable,” she said.

Twitch said in a statement that it ended the transmission “less than two minutes after the violence began.”

New York State Police say troopers were called in early June last year to the high school attended by the alleged shooter, Payton Gendron, for a report that a 17-year-old student had made threatening statements.

Gendron threatened to shoot at Susquehanna Valley High School in Conklin, New York, upon graduation, said a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Gendron had no further contact with law enforcement after he was released from the hospital.

“Nobody called,” he said. “No one called a complaint,” Gramaglia said.

Federal law prohibits people from owning a firearm if a judge has determined they have a ‘mental defect’ or were forced into a mental institution – but an assessment alone wouldn’t trigger the ban .

Federal authorities were still working to confirm the authenticity of a racist 180-page document, allegedly written by Gendron, which detailed his plans for the attack and the reasons for its perpetration.

Federal agents served multiple search warrants and questioned Gendron’s parents, who were cooperating with investigators, the law enforcement official said.

Parts of the Twitch video circulating online showed the shooter firing volley after volley of shots in less than a minute as he drove through the parking lot and then the store, pausing for a moment to reload. At one point, he raises his gun at a white person cowering behind a checkout counter, but says “Sorry! and don’t shoot.

Screenshots claiming to be from the show appear to show a racial slur targeting black people scrawled on his rifle, along with the number 14 – likely referring to a white supremacist slogan.

Authorities said he shot a total of 11 blacks and two whites on Saturday.

“This individual came here for the express purpose of taking as many black lives as possible,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at a Sunday news conference.

The lengthy statement attributed to Gendron described a racist ideology rooted in the belief that the United States should belong only to white people. All others, according to the document, were “substitutes” who would have to be eliminated by force or terror. The attack was intended to intimidate all non-white and non-Christian people into leaving the country, he said.

The document states that Gendron did some demographic research to select his target and chose a neighborhood in Buffalo because it had a high rate of black residents.

Gendron traveled about 200 miles (320 kilometers) from his home in Conklin, New York, to Buffalo to carry out the attack, police said.

He conducted a reconnaissance of the store and area on Friday, a day before the shooting, Gramaglia said.

Gendron surrendered to the police who confronted him in the lobby of the supermarket and convinced him to drop the gun he had put around his neck. He was arraigned later on Saturday for murder, appearing before a paper-robed judge.

The Buffalo attack was just the latest act of mass violence in a country troubled by racial tensions, gun violence and a recent spate of hate crimes. It came a month after a Brooklyn subway shooting left 10 people injured, and just over a year after 10 were killed in a Colorado supermarket shooting.

“It’s just too much. I try to testify but it’s too much. You can’t even go to the damn store in peace,” Buffalo resident Yvonne Woodard told the AP. “It’s just crazy.”

Associated Press reporters Robert Bumsted in Buffalo, Michael Hill in Albany, New York, Travis Loller in Nashville and Jake Bleiberg in Dallas contributed reporting. Balsamo reported from Washington.

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