New York, US, May 14 (EFE).- Ten people were killed and three wounded Saturday in what authorities called a racially motivated shooting at a crowded supermarket in Buffalo, New York.
All but two of the 13 people shot by the suspect, identified as Payton S. Gendron, an 18-year-old white man, were African-Americans, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said.
He arrived at the Tops Friendly Markets store around 2:30 pm wearing body armor and a helmet and live-streamed the attack on social media, said Gramaglia.
Gendron, previously described as a white supremacist, has been held without bail on first-degree murder charges and will appear in court Tuesday morning.
He faces life in prison since the New York state does not give the death penalty.
The prosecutor confirmed that they consider the murders to be “racially motivated,” in line with the premise of FBI special agent Steven Belanger.
Belanger said they were investigating the incident “as a hate crime and a case of violent extremism for racial reasons.”
Gendron, who made a trip of several hours to reach Buffalo, apparently chose this neighborhood because it is inhabited mostly by black people. Roughly 37 percent of Buffalo residents are Black.
Eleven of his 13 victims were Black.
After getting out of his vehicle, he shot four people in the parking lot – killing three of them – before entering the store, where he continued shooting.
The store security guard, a former Buffalo police officer, fired his weapon at the shooter, but the body armor deflected the bullets, and the suspect fatally shot the guard.
Police responding to the attack persuaded the suspect to put down the weapon after he “put the gun to his own neck,” Gramaglia said.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said that the suspect came from a considerable distance to carry out the shooting.
“The shooter was not from this community. In fact, the shooter traveled hours from outside this community to perpetrate this crime on the people of Buffalo,” he said.
The sheriff of surrounding Erie County, John Garcia, reinforced the mayor’s message.
“It was straight-up, racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community, outside of the city of good neighbors as the mayor said, coming into our community and trying to inflict that evil upon us,” Garcia said.
After the shooting, which also killed a supermarket security officer, he voluntarily surrendered to the police.
The New York Times adds that the young man declared himself “not guilty” in the first interrogation and accepted a public defender, saying he could not afford a private lawyer. EFE