Nfter an attack in a supermarket in the American city of Buffalo, in which ten people were killed, the FBI is investigating the suspicion of a racist motive. “We are investigating this case for both a hate crime and a violent racially motivated extremism case,” Buffalo FBI investigator Stephen Belongia said at a news conference after the shooting.
US President Joe Biden’s spokeswoman, Karine Jean-Pierre, announced that the president had been briefed on the “horrific gun attack.” He is constantly kept up to date and prays for the victims and their families. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York tweeted, “We are with the people of Buffalo.” The New York state governor called the fatal shooting in Buffalo terrorism. The perpetrator is a right-wing extremist who committed a “terrorist act”, said Kathy Hochul during a press conference. She sincerely hopes that this person who just committed a hate crime will spend the rest of their days behind bars.
District Attorney John J. Flynn said “certain pieces of evidence” pointed to a racial motive for the crime; Flynn gave no details. Eleven of the 13 people shot by the perpetrator, three of whom survived, were black. The Erie County Police Department chief called it a “purely racially motivated hate crime.”
As it became known in court on Saturday evening, the shooter is 18-year-old Payton S. Gendron from Conklin, a small town a good 300 kilometers from Buffalo. Gendron opened fire at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in front of and inside a supermarket in a predominantly black area of the city. In court that same day, he pleaded not guilty; He is charged with premeditated murder. According to police, Gendron was heavily armed at the scene, wearing military-style gear and a helmet. He drove his car into the parking lot, shot four people there and then shot around in the supermarket.
Manifesto full of conspiracy theories
The attack appears to have been fueled by racist attacks such as those on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March 2019 and that on a supermarket in El Paso, Texas, in August 2019. Officials said investigators were examining a manifesto that was said to have been penned by the perpetrator. It is peppered with racist and anti-immigration views and, according to the official, is also said to represent the conspiracy theory of “genocide of whites”.
Bellingcat author Robert Evans wrote on Twitter on Saturday that the perpetrator’s manifesto claims he targeted the supermarket because the area has the highest black population in his state and strict gun control. The Buffalo attack is the deadliest this year, killing 10 people, according to data from the Gun Violence Archives.
According to officials, the perpetrator broadcast the attack via a camera on his helmet on Twitch, a popular live streaming website that is mainly used for video games. Twitch said it took the channel offline. The New York Times quoted a Twitch spokeswoman as saying the site has “a zero-tolerance policy against violence of any kind and works expeditiously to respond to any incidents.” The user has been banned from our service indefinitely and we are taking all appropriate action, including monitoring any accounts re-sending this content.”
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at the news conference, “The shooter was not from this community. He traveled for hours from outside of this community to commit this crime against the people of Buffalo.” It is the worst nightmare a community can experience. “The great pain of the families and our pain right now cannot be put into words.” Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said in a statement that President Joe Biden had been briefed by the Department of Homeland Security and continued to speak up be kept up to date. “The President and First Lady are praying for the victims and their families.”
A police officer described the scene of the crime in The Buffalo News newspaper: “It’s like walking into a horror movie, but it’s all real.” The newspaper also quoted a supermarket worker who said he was in gone to the fridge. “I hid myself. I just hid. I didn’t want to leave the room,” he said.