At least ten people died this Saturday and three others were injured in a shooting that occurred in a supermarket in the city of Buffalo, United States.
Authorities reported that an 18-year-old man, who does not live in the area, was arrested at the crime scene. The name of the alleged perpetrator of the attack has not been released.
The suspect entered the busy Tops Friendly Market supermarket on Saturday before opening fire. while using a camera to live stream the attack on the social gaming platform Twitch, police said.
The FBI is investigating the shooting as a racially motivated hate crime. The supermarket is in a predominantly black neighborhood north of Buffalo. The surrounding area is mainly residential.
Buffalo Police Department Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia confirmed at a news conference that the shooter was heavily armed and wearing bulletproof military gear and a tactical helmet.
The man shot four people in the supermarket parking lot and then went inside and continued shooting, Gramaglia said.
Among those killed inside the store was a retired police officer who worked as an armed security guard.
The guard “confronted the suspect, fired multiple shots,” but the gunman killed him, Gramaglia said.
When police arrived, the shooter put the gun to his neck but was dissuaded and surrendered, he added.
He was later charged with first-degree murder and was held without bail. He pleaded not guilty.
“This is the worst nightmare any community can face and we’re hurting, we’re furious right now,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said.
He added that the suspect was not from the city and is believed to have driven for several hours to reach the predominantly black area of Buffalo.
“We are investigating this incident as a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism.“Stephen Belongia, the special agent in charge of the FBI office in Buffalo, said at the news conference.
The official voices indicated that in the shooting there was a component of ritual and premeditation that would be evidence of racial animosity.
A police officer told CBS that the detained suspect allegedly yelled racial slurs while shooting.
Describing the aftermath of the attack, another police officer told buffalonews: “It’s like walking into a horror movie, but it’s all real. It’s like Armageddon.” New York Governor Kathy Hochul described the incident as a “despicable act of violence” and said she would travel to Buffalo to help with the answer. She referred to the crime as a “military-style operation” against civilians who were shopping for groceries.
US President Joe Biden has been briefed on the shooting. “The President and First Lady are praying for those who have been lost and for their loved ones,” a White House statement said.
According to the AFP news agency, when asked if the shooter broadcast the killings, a spokesperson for the service said that “the user has been indefinitely suspended from our service” and that they are “taking all appropriate measures, including monitoring of any account that retransmits this content”.
According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published by AFP, in the US there were 19,350 homicides with firearms in 2020, almost 35% more than in 2019.
Despite recurring mass shootings and a national wave of gun violence, multiple initiatives to reform gun regulations have failed in the US Congress, leaving states and local councils to enact their own restrictions.
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