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10 killed in shooting at Buffalo supermarket with apparent racist motivation | International

A total of 10 people have died in a shooting at a supermarket in the city of Buffalo, in the State of New York. A man, who was later arrested by the local police, opened fire this Saturday afternoon against customers of a Tops supermarket chain store, located on Jefferson Avenue, about three kilometers northeast of the city center. The shooter was identified as Payton S. Gendron, 18, a resident of Conklin, New York, about 200 miles from Buffalo. “I understand the charges,” he said calmly in a five-minute appearance before the judge. The young man pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, which could carry him a life sentence. Using a body camera, Gendron broadcast the attack live.

The Buffalo Police Department has confirmed the figure of 10 fatalities and has indicated that there are also three wounded in the shooting whose life seems out of danger. Authorities are investigating the shooting as a hate crime or a racist-motivated extremist act of violence. Of the shooting victims, 11 are black and two are white, the FBI special agent in charge of the investigation explained. The police are also evaluating a racist manifesto posted by the shooter on the internet, in which he talks about his motives for the massacre and refers to the “theory of substitution or great replacement”, put forward by the extreme right and according to which the white population it is being replaced by immigrants of other races. The theory has found an echo in extremist movements such as QAnon.

The assailant got out of his car around 2:30 p.m. local time. He shot four people in the parking lot, three of whom were killed and one wounded. He then entered the supermarket and continued shooting, as explained in the same appearance by the chief commissioner of the Buffalo police, Joseph Gramaglia. The security guard, a retired policeman, shot the assailant, but he was wearing a helmet and bulletproof vest and his protection repelled the shots. The guard is one of the fatalities.

A worker, who has been identified as Will G., has told the newspaper buffalonews, who was the first to raise the count of the dead to 10, who had just enough time to hide behind one of the establishment’s refrigerators when it all started. “I only heard gunshots. Shots and more shots”, she has recounted. “It sounded like things were falling off the shelves.” That same newspaper also quotes a police officer who, after accessing the crime scene, said: “It’s like entering a horror movie, but everything is real. It’s like Armageddon.”

live shooting

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Another witness has reported that the murderer was heavily armed, wearing military clothing and a bulletproof vest, and that it was a young white man in his 20s. Equipped with a camera, the young man broadcast his action on Twitch, the video social network owned by Amazon, which immediately canceled its channel as soon as it became aware of it. The mayor of Buffalo, Byron Brown, who as a young man worked in the supermarket targeted by the attack, has claimed that he was not a resident of the city, but had driven for hours before carrying out his attack.

Witnesses have told local television networks that there were dozens of shots fired and that the police rushed to the scene. The shooter got out, initially aimed at his chin, but then dropped the gun, got down on his knees and turned himself in to police.

People crowded in the parking lot of the Buffalo supermarket where the shooting took place.
People crowded in the parking lot of the Buffalo supermarket where the shooting took place.Derek Gee (AP)

The store is located in a lower-class neighborhood of Buffalo and is, according to local media, a very popular supermarket in a predominantly black residential area. Buffalo is the second most populous city in the state, far behind New York. It is a few kilometers from the border with Canada and exchanges with the region of Ontario, and with its capital, Toronto, are frequent. It is also the closest town on the US side to Niagara Falls.

Amid the confusion, New York Governor Kathy Hochul tweeted: “I am closely following the shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo. We have offered assistance to local officials. If you are in Buffalo, please avoid the area and follow the instructions of the police and other authorities.” Hochul traveled to the city to coordinate care for the families of the victims and inform the press. From the scene of the attack, the governor tweeted again: “We must confront the threat that white supremacy poses to our society.” United States President Joe Biden conveyed a message of condolence.

The American media have dusted off the memory of another shooting, with which this one bears certain similarities: that one took place in March 2021 in Boulder (Colorado). So 10 people, including a police officer, were killed at a grocery store called King Soopers.

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