10 Dead in 'Racially Motivated' Mass Shooting at Buffalo Grocery Store, Suspect in Custody

Officials said at a Saturday news conference that the shooter was white, and 11 of the 13 victims — including non-fatal victims — were Black

At Least 9 Shot, Multiple Fatalities Reported, in Mass Shooting at TOPS Friendly Markets in Buffalo. Google Maps.
Tops Friendly Markets at 1275 Jefferson Avenue. Photo: Google Maps

Ten people were killed in a mass shooting Saturday afternoon at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y., in what officials described as a racially motivated attack that targeted Black people.

The shooting, in which 13 people were injured, took place at about 2:30 p.m. at Tops Friendly Markets at 1275 Jefferson Avenue, officials said, noting the store is in a predominantly Black neighborhood.

The suspect is an 18-year-old white male who wore tactical gear and a helmet and was "very heavily armed," Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said at a Saturday press conference. The suspect, who according to officials lives several hours away from Buffalo, livestreamed the shooting.

At the press conference, Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said, "It was, straight up, a racially motivated hate crime." He added: "This person was pure evil."

According to Gramaglia, 11 of the 13 victims — including non-fatal victims — were Black, CNN reports. The three victims who survived have injuries that are "non-life-threatening," Gramaglia said.

The victims have been identified as Roberta A. Drury, 32, Margus D. Morrison, 52, Andre Mackneil, 53, Aaron Salter, Jr., 55, Geraldine Talley, 62, Celestine Chaney, 65, Heyward Patterson, 67, Katherine Massey, 72, Pearl Young, 77, and Ruth Whitfield, 86.

Flowers and candles lay outside the scene of a shooting at a supermarket, in Buffalo, N.Y., Sunday, May 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Additionally, Christopher Braden, 55, Jennifer Warrington, 50, and Zaire Goodman, 20, sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the mass shooting. Warrington and Goodman have since been released from medical care.

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn said at a Saturday afternoon press conference there were "certain pieces of evidence" he said indicated the crime was motivated by racism, but he did not elaborate on what that evidence was, reports CNN.

The gunman exited his car at about 2:30 p.m. and shot four people in the store's parking lot, three of them fatally, Gramaglia said. He then went inside the store and shot more people.

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A security guard at the store, a former police officer, engaged the gunman, but the shooter was protected by his tactical gear, Gramaglia said. The shooter then fired at the security guard, killing him.

Buffalo police who responded to the scene engaged the suspect, who eventually put a gun to his own neck before officers convinced him to drop the weapon, Gramaglia said. At that point, the suspect was taken into custody.

According to Gramaglia, four victims of the attack were store employees and the rest were customers.

Representatives for the BPD and for Tops Friendly Markets did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

In a statement to PEOPLE, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, "The President has been briefed by his Homeland Security Advisor on the horrific shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., this afternoon. He will continue to receive updates throughout the evening and tomorrow as further information develops. The President and the First Lady are praying for those who have been lost and for their loved ones."

In a statement, New York Governor Kathy Hochul tweeted, "I am closely monitoring the shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo."

"We have offered assistance to local officials," she added. "If you are in Buffalo, please avoid the area and follow guidance from law enforcement and local officials."

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz also tweeted to nearby residents that they should avoid the area while police investigate the incident.

"I have been advised of an active multiple shooting event at the Tops Markets on Jefferson Street in Buffalo. Police are on scene. Please stay away from the area," he wrote.

This is a developing story.

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