Buffalo shooter under investigation by NY State Police

the accused of kill 10 people in a supermarket in Buffalo, in the United States, has been investigated by the New York State Police since he was in high school. Payton Gendron, 18, turned himself in to police this Saturday (14), after shooting 14 people with a rifle, most of them black.

Law enforcement officials described it as “an act of violent, racially motivated extremism”. “We are investigating this incident as a hate crime and a case of racially motivated extremist violence,” said Stephen Belongia, a special agent at the FBI’s Buffalo office, near the Canadian border.

The assailant, identified hours later, was arrested after the shooting and charged with “death with premeditation”. He wore a helmet equipped with a camera to broadcast his crime live over the internet, a bulletproof vest and military-style clothing, according to local judicial authorities and police.

President Joe Biden denounced the attack as “domestic terrorism” and thanked the police and emergency services for their work. “Any act of domestic terrorism, including an act committed in the name of a disgusting ideology of white nationalism, is antithetical to everything we stand for in the United States,” he said in a statement.

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11 of the 13 victims were black

Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said 10 people died and three were injured. Eleven victims were black.

The assailant first shot four people in the supermarket parking lot, three of whom died, and then entered the store and continued shooting, explained the city sheriff in western New York state.

Among the dead inside the establishment was a retired police officer who worked as security and was armed.

The official “confronted the suspect” but the gunman – who was protected by a bulletproof vest – shot him dead, Gramaglia said.

When police arrived at the scene, the gunman pointed the gun at himself, at neck level, before turning himself in to authorities, according to Gramaglia.

It was an act of “sheer evil,” said John Garcia, the sheriff of Erie County, where Buffalo is located. “It’s a racist and hate-motivated crime,” he added.

The American press reported that authorities were investigating a manifesto “of a racist nature” posted on the internet, in which the suspect explained his plans and motivations.

The New York Times newspaper claims that the suspect was “inspired” by acts of white supremacy, such as the murder of 51 Muslims in mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch in 2019.

According to the local newspaper The Buffalo News, the semi-automatic weapon used in the shooting had a racial epithet and the number 14, a symbol of supremacy. County District Attorney John Flynn said the suspect used an “attack weapon” but did not specify the type.

The prosecutor’s office said the shooter was held without bail and charged with first-degree murder, which could carry a life sentence without parole.

Asked by the press whether the attacker could face the death penalty, West New York District Attorney Trini Ross replied: “All options are on the table.”

The author of the shooting, who carried a camera, began publicizing the crime on the Twitch platform, which declared itself “devastated” and promised “zero tolerance against all forms of violence”.

“We investigated and confirmed that less than two minutes after the violence began, we removed the transmitted footage,” a spokesman for the streaming service said. “We are taking all appropriate steps, including oversight of any accounts that rebroadcast this content,” he added.

Byron Brown, the mayor of Buffalo, said the gunman “traveled hours into the community to commit the crime”. “It’s a day of great pain for our community,” Brown said. The shooting is the latest racially motivated shooting in the United States.

In 2019, a white man with a gun traveled several hours through Texas and killed 23 people at a Walmart in El Paso, where much of the population is Hispanic.

Four years earlier, in Charleston, South Carolina, a white man opened fire at an African-American community church and killed nine people. In both cases, the shooters published hate speeches before committing the attacks.

Last month, a “sniper” opened fire in an upscale Washington neighborhood, wounded four people and then committed suicide.

Despite recurring fatal shootings and a wave of gun violence across the country, several initiatives to reform gun laws have failed in the US Congress, leaving states and prefectures to determine their own restrictions.

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