I’m not going to lie, this was way too close to home for me and my family, and like most of you, I have a thousand questions regarding the mass shooting that took place Saturday afternoon at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, NY.
For now, I’m going to hold off on my comments as we continue to seek the full truth as to why 18-year-old Payton Gendron of Conklin, N.Y. did what he did. For now, let’s just focus on the facts…
THE FACTS, AS REPORTED BY THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA:
- A white gunman live-streamed a racially motivated mass shooting online, showing himself killing 10 people and wounding three others Saturday at a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket in a historically Black neighborhood.
- The suspect has been identified as Payton Gendron, 18, of Conklin, N.Y.
- According to witnesses and law enforcement, the gunman was dressed in body armor and armed with a high-powered rifle as he live-streamed the massacre. Investigators were reviewing a hate-filled manifesto the suspect apparently posted online.
- Of the 13 victims, 11 are Black and two are white, according to Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia.
- The FBI is investigating this “both as a hate crime and racially motivated violent extremism,” said Stephen Belongia, special agent in charge in Buffalo.
- The suspect is in custody and was arraigned Saturday evening, charged with murder in the first degree, the highest murder charge in New York state.
- At a news conference, Erie County Dist. Atty. John Flynn said a felony hearing would take place in five days. He said his office was considering terrorism charges, as well as “other murder charges,” and was working with the federal government “so that they can perhaps file charges as well.”
- Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said the suspect had traveled “hours” from outside the city. “The shooter was not from this community. In fact, the shooter traveled hours from outside this community to perpetrate this crime on the people of Buffalo,” he said.
- The suspect’s hometown is roughly 200 miles southeast of Buffalo.
- According to police, the gunman arrived at the Tops Friendly Markets location at about 2:30 p.m. and exited his vehicle. He shot four people in the parking lot. Three of them died.
- He then went inside the store, where a security guard who was a former Buffalo police officer confronted him.
- The gunman then continued shooting as he made his way through the store, then returned to the front, where police officers convinced him to drop his weapon.
- He was arrested and taken to Buffalo police headquarters.
- The Tops supermarket is on Jefferson Avenue in a historically Black neighborhood of Buffalo. It is blocks from the Buffalo Black Achievers Museum and the Frank E. Merriweather Jr. Library, which was named for the publisher of the Buffalo Criterion, the oldest African American weekly newspaper in upstate New York.
- On Saturday, Buffalo reporter Kelsey Granderson tweeted, “He is charged with murder in the first degree and his lawyer says he is pleading not guilty. Forensic exam requested by lawyer.”
We will continue to monitor the situation, and pray for those who have lost their lives in this tragic event.