Buffalo: A heavily armed 18-year-old man shot and killed 10 people Saturday at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, authorities said.
Buffalo Police Chief Joseph Gramaria told a news conference that the gunman, who was wearing body armor and a helmet, was arrested after the massacre.
Gramaglia put the casualty toll at 10 dead and three wounded. Eleven of the victims were African-Americans.
Gramaria said the gunman opened fire on four people in the parking lot of the Tops supermarket, killing three of them, before going inside and continuing to shoot.
Among those killed in the store was a retired police officer who served as an armed security guard.
Gramaria said the guards “engaged the suspect and fired multiple shots,” but the gunman shot and killed him.
He added that when police arrived, the gunman held the gun to his neck but was persuaded and surrendered.
Stephen Bellongia, a special agent in charge of the FBI’s Buffalo field office, said at a news conference that the shooting is being investigated as a hate crime.
“We are investigating this incident as both a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism,” Belongia said.
Erie County Sheriff John Garcia described the attack as “pure evil.”
“It was straight up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community,” he said.
When asked what information led authorities to term the attack a hate crime, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said they had evidence indicating “racial animosity,” but declined to elaborate.
US media outlets have reported that officials are investigating a detailed “manifesto” that was posted online before the shooting, in which the suspect outlines his plans and racial motivations for the attack.
A semi-automatic weapon used by the shooter also had a racial epithet written on it as well as the number 14 — a reference to a white supremacist phrase — according to local daily The Buffalo News, citing a local official.
District Attorney Flynn said at a news conference that the shooter used an “assault weapon” — a term that can be applied to New York’s types of rifles and shotguns — without specifying which.
Flynn’s office said in a tweet Saturday night that the suspect — identified as Peyton Zendren of Conklin, N.Y. — has been arraigned on first-degree murder charges, which carry a life sentence without parole. . He is being held without bail.
Asked at an earlier news conference if the shooter could face the death penalty at the federal level, U.S. Attorney Trini Ross for the Western District of New York said: “As we continue our investigation, all options are on the table. superior. “