A white gunman killed at least 10 people and injured others in a mostly black supermarket in upstate New York. The FBI is investigating a hate crime. US President Joe Biden offers his condolences to the families of the victims.
(dpa) An 18-year-old white man shot dead ten people and injured three others in a supermarket in a predominantly black neighborhood in the American city of Buffalo, New York. Then he turned himself in to the authorities. According to officials, the alleged perpetrator, armed with an assault rifle, drove from his home in the same state to Buffalo for several hours. He filmed his act and published it on the Internet. Eleven of the 13 people who were shot were black, according to authorities.
“We are investigating this incident as both a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism,” an FBI investigator said in Buffalo on Saturday. The man was taken into custody immediately after the crime on Saturday, Mayor Byron Brown said. “What started out as a beautiful day in the city of Buffalo has turned into a terrible day. A day that breaks the heart of every member of our community,” said Brown.
US President Joe Biden also expressed his sympathy. The act was “terrible,” said the White House on Saturday evening (local time). “The President and First Lady are praying for the victims and their families.” The White House said Biden had been briefed on the incident by his homeland security adviser and will continue to be kept informed. The President is spending part of the weekend in his home state of Delaware. The plan was for him to return to Washington on Sunday.
The 18-year-old perpetrator was not from the community, the mayor said. “The shooter traveled hours from outside of this community to commit this crime against the people of Buffalo,” Brown said. The crime happened in and in front of a supermarket. It was a day when people enjoyed the sunshine and all kinds of happy activities.
According to authorities, the shooter had a camera and was wearing a helmet – he filmed the act and broadcast it live on a social network. There is “certain evidence” that points to a racist act, it said. The majority of the victims were black. According to initial findings, the shooter acted alone. The supermarket is located several miles north of downtown Buffalo in an area primarily populated by black people. “Why does a white man come here and shoot in a black supermarket,” said a local resident on local television.
A police officer described the crime scene in The Buffalo News newspaper: “It’s like stepping into a horror movie, but it’s all real.” The newspaper also quoted a supermarket employee who said he had gone into the cold room shortly before the incident. “I hid myself. I just hid. I didn’t want to leave the room,” he said. The host of the local TV station WKBW said, visibly shocked, that her husband had visited the supermarket about an hour before the crime.
New York State Governor Kathy Hochul wrote on Twitter on Saturday that she was closely monitoring the situation after the incident at a local grocery store. “If you are in Buffalo, please avoid the area and follow instructions from law enforcement and local authorities.”
Buffalo is the second largest city in the state after New York. The city with around 280,000 inhabitants is only a few kilometers away from Niagara Falls. The falls are a world-renowned tourist attraction.