BUFFALO, N.Y. — Residents of Buffalo, New York, woke up Sunday still stunned in the aftermath of the worst mass shooting in the city’s history.
At least 10 people were killed and three more were injured when an 18-year-old dressed in military gear opened fire at a Tops Friendly Markets on Saturday afternoon. The assailant was identified as Payton S. Gendron, 18, of Conklin, New York.
“This is the worst nightmare that any community can face,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said. “And we are hurting and we are seething right now as a community. The depth of pain that families are feeling and that all of us are feeling right now cannot even be explained.”
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,” Tops said in a statement. “Our top priority remains the health and well-being of our associates and customers. We appreciate the quick response of local law enforcement and are providing all available resources to assist authorities in the ongoing investigation.”
Here is what we know about Saturday’s shooting.
The shooting began in the parking lot of the Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo at about 2:30 p.m. EDT.
A heavily armed man, identified as Gendron, was wearing tactical gear and body armor with a video camera attached to his helmet.
He opened fire, striking four people. Three of the victims were killed.
Dominique Calhoun had pulled into the parking lot, about to treat her two daughters to ice cream, when she saw people running out of the store.
“That literally could’ve been me,” Calhoun told The New York Times. “I’m just in shock. I’ve never had something like this happen so close to home.”
Inside the store
After Gendron entered the supermarket, “he began engaging customers inside the store,” Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said during a news conference. According to police, Gendron, who was armed with an assault-style rifle shot more than a dozen people in a matter of minutes.
“It’s the weekend, so it was packed,” Shonnell Harris, an operation manager working at the store during the shooting, told The Buffalo News.
Harris said she ran through the store, falling several times before exiting from the rear of the building. She said she saw the shooter, whom she described as a white man wearing camouflage.
“He looked like he was in the Army,” Harris told the News.
Seven of the victims were killed.
Aaron Salter Jr., 55, a security guard who was a retired lieutenant with the Buffalo Police Department, confronted and fired at Gendron.
However, Gendron was wearing body armor and was not harmed by the shot, as the bullets struck the attacker’s tactical vest, Gramaglia told reporters. The gunman returned fire and fatally shot Salter.
Jennifer Tookes of Buffalo was shopping inside the store when she heard the shots.
“I ran through the deli and out the back door to get away from him,” Tookes told the Democrat & Chronicle.
Tookes returned to the parking lot and retrieved her phone from her car, the newspaper reported. She called her cousin, who was also inside the store. Tookes said her cousin hid in a freezer and was not injured.
Ken Stephens, 68, a member of a local anti-violence group, told the Times that “I came up here, and bodies were everywhere.”
Gramaglia said during a news conference on Sunday that all family notifications have occurred and the Buffalo Police Department later released a list of the deceased as well as those with non-life threatening injuries.
The News, citing unnamed sources, identified Ruth Whitfield, the mother of former Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield, was one of the people killed. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown later confirmed that Whitfield was one of the victims.
Four of the people shot were store employees, the News reported.
In a tweet, state Sen. Tim Kennedy said the son of one of his staff members was among the wounded.
“To say that I’m heartbroken tonight doesn’t even do it justice,” Kennedy tweeted. “I’m devastated. I’m angry. I’m thinking about the families who won’t welcome a loved one home tonight.”
Celestine Chaney, 65, was also killed in the supermarket, her son, Wayne Jones, 48, told The New York Times.
Chaney was visiting her sister and the two of them went to the supermarket because Chaney wanted to get strawberries to make shortcake, Jones told the newspaper.
“She loved those,” Jones told the newspaper, adding that his aunt was able to hide in a freezer.
“But my mom cannot really walk like she used to,” Jones told the Times. “She basically can’t run.”
Pearly Young, 77, was killed while shopping in the store, WGRZ-TV reported. Her family told the television station that she loved singing, dancing and enjoying time with her family.
Young was a mother and grandmother and also served as a missionary, WGRZ reported.
Heyward Patterson, who frequently gave people rides to and from the supermarket and helped them carry their groceries, was among the 10 people fatally shot, Patterson’s great-niece, Teniqua Clark, told The New York Times.
Roberta Drury, 32, was killed after she went to the Tops store to buy groceries to make dinner, her sister, Amanda Drury, told the newspaper.
“She was very vibrant,” Amanda Drury told the Times. “She always was the center of attention and made the whole room smile and laugh.”
Also killed was shopper Katherine Massey, 72, whose sister, Barbara Massey, told The Associated Press that she was “a beautiful soul.”
She was an advocate for civil rights and education, former Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant, who has been friends with Massey for more than 20 years, told the News.
“We lost a voice yesterday. We lost a powerful, powerful voice,” Grant told the newspaper on Sunday.
Massey was a member of “We Are Women Warriors,” which Grant founded.
“She was unapologetic about making sure our community was not ignored,” Grant told the News.
Kat Massey wrote for both the Buffalo Challenger and Buffalo Criterion and was a frequent letter writer to The News.
“Any life has worth and loss of any life is really bad for the family and the community and the City of Buffalo,” Grant told the News. “But to lose such a fighter, someone who was so eloquent ... to lose that voice.”
The alleged shooter
Police said Gendron shot 11 Black and two white victims before surrendering to authorities after broadcasting live on the streaming platform Twitch, The Associated Press reported.
Gendron is from Conklin, which is about 200 miles southeast of Buffalo and 10 miles southeast of Binghamton. He was arraigned Saturday night before Buffalo City Court Judge Craig Hannah on one count of first-degree murder. Gendron is being held without bail.
“I understand my charges,” Gendron said, according to WIVB-TV.
Gendron may face additional charges and will return to court for a felony hearing on Thursday, according to the Democrat & Chronicle. Gendron’s attorney, Brian Parker, requested that his client undergo a psychiatric examination.
Gendron graduated from Susquehanna Valley High School in Conklin, which is near the New York-Pennsylvania border, the Democrat & Chronicle reported. He was a student at Broome Community College, the newspaper reported.
A large law enforcement contingent was at Gendron’s family home in Conklin on Saturday night. Broome County Sheriff David Harder said his office had no prior contact with Gendron.
FBI agents joined other law officers at about 9 a.m. EDT on Sunday outside the home, the Times reported.
This person was pure evil,” Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said.
Twitch confirmed that the shooter used to the service to broadcast the incident, WIVB reported. The streaming platform has deleted the broadcast.
We are devastated to hear about the shooting that took place this afternoon in Buffalo, New York,” Twitch said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to the community impacted by this tragedy. Twitch has a zero-tolerance policy against violence of any kind and works swiftly to respond to all incidents. The user has been indefinitely suspended from our service, and we are taking all appropriate action, including monitoring for any accounts rebroadcasting this content.”
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