White gunman kills 10 in ‘racially motivated’ shooting in US city of Buffalo
An 18-year-old white gunman in the US shot 10 people to death and wounded three on Saturday at a grocery store in a Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, which authorities called an act of "racially motivated violent extremism."
Authorities said the suspect, who was armed with an assault-style rifle and appeared to have acted alone, drove to Buffalo from his home several hours away to launch the afternoon attack that he broadcast in real time on social media platform Twitch, a live video service owned by Amazon.com
Eleven of the 13 people struck by gunfire were Black, officials said. The two others were white.
Court papers named the suspect as Payton Gendron of Conklin, a town of about 5,000 people in New York's Southern Tier region near the Pennsylvania border.
He was arraigned hours after the shooting in state court on first-degree murder charges, which carry a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole, said Erie County District Attorney John Flynn. New York has no capital punishment.
Flynn said the judge also ordered Gendron to remain in custody without bail and to undergo a "forensic examination." Gendron was scheduled to return to court on May 19.
Stephen Belongia, the FBI special agent in charge of the bureau's Buffalo field office, said the attack would be investigated both as a hate crime and as an act of "racially motivated violent extremism" under federal law.
"This person was pure evil," Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said at a news conference, his voice quaking with emotion. "It was a straight-up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community."
The Buffalo shooting follows a pattern of other racially motivated mass murders in recent years, including a Pittsburgh synagogue attack that left 11 congregants dead in October 2018, and the Atlanta spa shootings in March 2021 in which a white man killed eight people, targeting Asians.
The US suffered 19,350 firearm homicides in 2020, up nearly 35 percent compared with 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its latest data.
But despite the recurring mass-casualty shootings and a nationwide wave of gun violence, multiple initiatives to reform gun regulations have failed in the US Congress, leaving states and local councils to enact their own restrictions.