A gunman opened fire in the US city of Buffalo, killing at least ten people. According to the police, three people were injured. According to official figures, eleven people among the dead and injured are African Americans.
“We are investigating this incident as both a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism,” an FBI investigator said in Buffalo on Saturday.
The man was taken into custody immediately after the crime on Saturday, Mayor Byron Brown said. “What started out as a beautiful day in the city of Buffalo has turned into a terrible day. A day that breaks the heart of every member of our community,” Brown said.
The 18-year-old perpetrator was not from the community, the mayor said. “The shooter traveled hours from outside of this community to commit this crime against the people of Buffalo,” Brown said. The crime happened in and in front of a supermarket. It was a day when people enjoyed the sunshine and all kinds of happy activities.
According to authorities, the shooter had a camera and was wearing a helmet – he filmed the act and broadcast it live on a social network. There is “certain evidence” that points to a racist act, it said.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said at a news conference that the perpetrator held a gun to his own neck when officers stopped him in a convenience store anteroom. However, the police officers could have persuaded the shooter to surrender.
According to a report in the local newspaper The Buffalo News, three other people were injured in the violence, two of them seriously. According to the report, the attacker wore a bulletproof vest and helmet and opened fire with a “powerful rifle”.
According to initial findings, the shooter acted alone. The supermarket is located several miles north of downtown Buffalo in a predominantly black area. “Why does a white man come here and shoot in a black supermarket,” a local resident said on local television.
A police officer described the crime scene in The Buffalo News newspaper: “It’s like walking into a horror movie, but it’s all real.” The newspaper also quoted a supermarket employee who said he had gone into the cold room shortly before the incident.
“I hid myself. I just hid. I didn’t want to leave the room,” he said. The host of the local TV station WKBW said, visibly shocked, that her husband had visited the supermarket about an hour before the crime.
The host of the local TV station WKBW said, visibly shocked, that her husband had visited the supermarket about an hour before the crime. According to the police, the alleged perpetrator walked the aisles in the supermarket and shot his victims in the head. A security guard shot the 18-year-old, but the bullets got stuck in his bulletproof vest. The guard was then killed by him.
Racism by right-wing extremists has been perceived by many people in the USA as a growing and dangerous problem, and not just since the “Black Lives Matter” movement. The anti-racism organization Anti-Defamation League (ADL) sees right-wing extremism on the rise in the USA. The ADL writes that “white supremacists” assumed that whites were in danger of becoming extinct. They believed that almost all actions that help “save” whites are justified.
New York State Governor Kathy Hochul wrote on Twitter on Saturday that she was closely monitoring the situation after the incident at a local grocery store. “If you are in Buffalo, please avoid the area and follow directions from law enforcement and local authorities.”
Buffalo is the second largest city in the state after New York. The city with around 280,000 inhabitants is only a few kilometers away from Niagara Falls. The falls are a world-renowned tourist attraction.
Fatal incidents involving firearms, shootings or acts in which a person opens fire in schools, supermarkets or other public facilities are a frequent occurrence in the United States. More than 40,000 people die from firearms in the United States every year – many times more than in Germany or other industrialized countries.
In addition to the sometimes very lax rules for procuring heavy automatic rifles, this is due to a flourishing black market, which the government in Washington has so far tried to combat with little success. The Buffalo crime is the deadliest gunman crime in the United States in more than a year. In the summer of 2019, a racially motivated perpetrator killed more than 20 people in a supermarket in El Paso, Texas.
US President Joe Biden expressed his condolences. The act was “terrible,” it said on Saturday night from the White House. “The President and First Lady are praying for the victims and their families.”
The White House said Biden had been informed of the incident by his homeland security adviser and will continue to be kept informed. The President is spending part of the weekend in his home state of Delaware. The plan was for him to return to Washington on Sunday.