10 people are dead in an apparently planned shooting at a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket
AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:
We're covering the mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., throughout the program today. It happened at a grocery store yesterday afternoon. Ten people were killed, allegedly by an 18-year-old white man who published a racist agenda online. According to police, he was heavily armed when he opened fire at a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood. He was arrested at the scene. President Biden has condemned the attack and said the White House will do everything it can to end hate-fueled domestic terrorism. NPR's Quil Lawrence is in Buffalo, and he's on the line.
Thanks for joining us, Quil.
QUIL LAWRENCE, BYLINE: Good morning.
RASCOE: What else do we know about what happened?
LAWRENCE: The police say that the alleged shooter drove from a town several hours away, that this was a very deliberately long-planned attack. Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia described what happened at the Tops neighborhood grocery store.
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JOSEPH GRAMAGLIA: He exited his vehicle. He was very heavily armed. He had tactical gear. He had a tactical helmet on. He had a camera that he was livestreaming what he was doing.
LAWRENCE: And he allegedly shot 13 people starting in the parking lot, 11 of them Black. When law enforcement arrived, he briefly held a gun to his own neck, but police were able to persuade him to surrender. And then in an unusually quick move, the gunman was arraigned just a few hours later, and he pleaded not guilty to murder charges.
RASCOE: And this is being investigated as a hate crime. What do we know about the motives behind this?
LAWRENCE: The alleged shooter has been named as Payton S. Gendron, is an 18-year-old white man from a small town in upstate New York. The FBI hasn't filed federal charges yet, but the authorities have referenced a racist rant and even racist language on the rifle that can be seen in that livestreamed video. John Garcia, who's the Erie County sheriff, said the evidence of the motive was overwhelming.
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JOHN GARCIA: This was pure evil. It was straight-up racially motivated hate crime.
RASCOE: How is Buffalo reacting to this news? Like, what do we know about the people who died?
LAWRENCE: Well, those details are still coming out. It's still very early. One of the people killed was that retired Buffalo police officer, Aaron Salter, who apparently tried to stop the attacker. But we're expecting to learn more today as this community learns it, you know, as the loss of these lives are felt by families or at church this morning. Or, you know, it was whatever plans that they had on this spring Sunday morning are now replaced with grief. New York Governor Kathy Hochul, who's from here, from upstate, described the shock that's going through this community. And she says she shares their outrage. She spoke at a press conference late last night.
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KATHY HOCHUL: It's a wonderful, tight-knit neighborhood. And to see that sense of security shattered by an individual, a white supremacist who has engaged in an act of terrorism and will be prosecuted as such.
LAWRENCE: Governor Hochul says that she'll drive the prosecution of this case. She intends to track down where the weapons were sold and whether or not they were modified. She also said that she will push those loopholes in New York State gun laws that allow these sort of weapons. And she said social media companies should be held to account for allowing this sort of violent content online. But she had to admit that many people are very cynical about government efforts to prosecute and prevent these after so many similar crimes in recent years.
RASCOE: NPR's Quil Lawrence in Buffalo, N.Y.
Thank you for joining us.
LAWRENCE: Thanks, Ayesha.
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