BUFFALO: A gunman wearing a rifle and body armor opened fire at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, killing at least 10 people before being arrested on Saturday afternoon, enforcement officials said Laws to The Associated Press.
Details on the number of additional people shot at Tops Friendly Market and their conditions were not immediately available. The two officials were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter and did so on condition of anonymity.
Investigators believe the man may have livestreamed the shooting and was investigating whether he had posted a manifesto online, the official said. The official warned that the investigation was still in its early stages and that authorities had not yet discerned a clear motive, but were investigating whether the shooting was racially motivated.
The supermarket is in a predominantly black neighborhood about three miles north of downtown Buffalo. The surrounding area is mostly residential, with a Family Dollar store and a fire station near the store.
Buffalo police confirmed the shooter was in custody in a tweet, but did not identify the suspect. Police officials and a spokesperson for the supermarket chain did not immediately respond to messages from the AP seeking comment.
Witnesses reported that the shooter was wearing military-style clothing in addition to the bulletproof vest, one of the officials said.
Braedyn Kephart and Shane Hill, both 20, pulled into the parking lot just as the shooter exited. They described him as a white male in his late teens or early twenties wearing full camouflage, a black helmet, and what appeared to be a rifle.
“He was standing there with the gun to his chin. We were like what’s going on? Why does this kid have a gun to his face?” Kephart said. He fell to his knees. “He ripped off his helmet, dropped his gun and was tackled by the police.”
Police sealed off the block, lined with onlookers, and yellow police surrounded the entire parking lot. Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz were at the scene late Saturday afternoon, gathered in a parking lot across from the Tops store and were scheduled to address the media.
More than two hours after the shooting, Erica Pugh-Mathews was waiting outside the store, behind the police tape.
“We would like to know the status of my aunt, my mother’s sister. She was there with her fiancé, they split up and went down different aisles,” she said. “A bullet just missed her. He was able to hide in a freezer but he couldn’t reach my aunt and doesn’t know where she is. We’d just like a word anyway if she’s okay.
Governor Kathy Hochul tweeted that she was “closely monitoring the grocery store shooting in Buffalo,” her hometown. She said state officials have offered assistance to local authorities. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office said on social media that it has ordered all available personnel to assist Buffalo police.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has been briefed on the shooting, Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said.
The shooting came just over a year after a March 2021 attack on a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado that killed 10 people. Investigators have not released any information on why they believe the man accused of the attack targeted the supermarket.