An 18-year-old suspect is in custody following a mass shooting at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, where a gunman shot dead at least 13 people, killing 1, after opening fire in the parking lot and inside the store in what police called a “racially motivated hate crime.”
The suspect was wearing “tactical gear” and live-streamed the shooting, according to police. He reportedly posted an online manifesto, according to the Associated Press, citing investigators who warned the investigation was in a preliminary state.
The suspect arrived at the supermarket after 2:30 p.m. ET and shot four people in the parking lot, killing three, before entering the store and firing several bullets.
Erie County Sheriff John Garcia called the shooting “pure evil” and a “racially motivated hate crime by someone outside of our community.”
“This is the worst nightmare any community can face,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at a Saturday night news conference. “We are in pain and seething.”
The alleged shooter was not from Buffalo but “travelled for hours” to “perpetrate this crime on the people of Buffalo”, according to the mayor.
The suspect dropped a rifle while standing outside the market and was tackled by police and arrested.
A Tops Markets employee who identified himself as Will G said The Buffalo News that he hid with a group of people in the cold room of a supermarket as gunshots rang through the store.
“I just heard gunshots. Blows and blows and blows,” he told the outlet. “It looked like things were falling apart. … I hid. I just hid. I wasn’t going to leave this room.
The market at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Riley Street in Buffalo – New York’s second largest city – is in a largely residential, predominantly black neighborhood about three miles north of downtown New York City. city.
A statement from Tops Market said the company was “shocked and deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families”.
U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland has been briefed on the shooting, according to a Justice Department spokesperson.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul said she was “monitoring closely” the incident and advised residents to avoid the area.
A statement from the Erie County Sheriff’s Office offers “condolences to the family and friends” of the victims. New York Attorney General Letitia James said “all of New York is with Buffalo after this tragic mass shooting.”
U.S. Representative Brian Higgins, who represents Buffalo in Congress, said he was “horrified” by the reports and offered federal support to local authorities if needed.
This is a developing story