After Buffalo Mass Shooting, President Biden Condemns 'Hate-Fueled Domestic Terrorism'

"Any act of domestic terrorism, including an act perpetrated in the name of a repugnant white nationalist ideology, is antithetical to everything we stand for in America," Biden said

People hug outside the scene after a shooting at a supermarket on Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
Photo: AP Photo/Joshua Bessex

President Joe Biden issued a statement following Saturday's mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., mourning the loss of the 10 people who were killed and condemning what he described as "hate-fueled domestic terrorism."

"Tonight, we grieve for the families of ten people whose lives were senselessly taken and everyone who is suffering the physical and emotional wounds of this horrific shooting," the statement said. "We are grateful for the bravery of members of law enforcement and other first responders who took immediate action to try to protect and save lives. The First Lady and I are praying for the victims and their families, and hearts all across this country are with the people of Buffalo."

The statement added: "We still need to learn more about the motivation for today's shooting as law enforcement does its work, but we don't need anything else to state a clear moral truth: A racially motivated hate crime is abhorrent to the very fabric of this nation. Any act of domestic terrorism, including an act perpetrated in the name of a repugnant white nationalist ideology, is antithetical to everything we stand for in America. Hate must have no safe harbor. We must do everything in our power to end hate-fueled domestic terrorism."

New York Governor Kathy Hochul posted a statement to Twitter following the shooting, saying, "We must confront the threat that white supremacism poses to our society head-on. I have directed the @nyspolice Hate Crimes Task Force to assist in the investigation of the heinous shooting in Buffalo today."

In an interview with NPR, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said the shooting might be an outgrowth of the racism pervasive on social media.

"The hate speech that is allowed on social media, the indoctrination of people into ways and thinking of hate — we have to address that," Brown said. "That has to come to an end. Hate speech should not be considered free speech. We have to put limits on the ability for people to spread hate through the internet and through social media."

Authorities Investigating Terrorism Charges

Officials have said the shooting, which took place at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Tops Friendly Markets at 1275 Jefferson Avenue in a predominantly Black neighborhood, was motivated by white supremacy, and targeted Black people.

In addition to the 10 fatal victims, three people sustained injuries that are considered non-life-threatening, officials said.

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.

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. Google Maps

According to Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia, 11 of the 13 victims — including non-fatal victims — were Black, CNN reports. At a Saturday press conference, Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said, "It was, straight up, a racially motivated hate crime." He added: "This person was pure evil."

The suspect, who officials say livestreamed the attack, has been identified as Payton S. Gendron, 18, of Conklin, N.Y., which is about 200 miles southeast of Buffalo. He is charged with one count of first-degree murder, and has pleaded not guilty, The New York Times reports.

Flynn said at a Saturday evening press conference that authorities are investigating terrorism charges.

The gunman began shooting in the store's parking lot before entering the store, where he shot more people. 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.

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