An 18-year-old white American shot and killed 10 people and injured three others at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, in a predominantly African-American neighborhood, before being handed over to police. US authorities have spoken of a “hate crime” and an act of “violent extremism with racist motives”.
Authorities said the perpetrator, who was armed with an assault rifle and appeared to have acted alone, drove “several hours” from his home to Buffalo, where he launched the attack, which was broadcast online via a camera he carried. Eleven of the thirteen people he shot were African-Americans, according to police officials.
The perpetrator, who was not initially named by police, was heavily armed and wore a bulletproof vest and helmet.
When he was confronted by police in the lobby of the store, he aimed his gun at his throat, but police persuaded him to drop it and surrender, Buffalo Police Chief Joseph Gramalia told a news conference.
The gunman shot and killed three people in the parking lot before exchanging fire with a former police officer who worked as a security guard at the store, but the perpetrator was protected by the bulletproof vest he was wearing. The security guard was one of ten people killed by the butcher, while the other nine were customers of the store.
The three injured are employees of the store, whose lives do not seem to be in danger, according to the authorities.
Steven Bellonzia, head of the FBI’s Buffalo office, said the attack would be investigated as a hate crime and an act of “violent extremism with racist motives” under federal law.
“It was a hate crime, with clear racist motives, by someone outside our community,” said Erie County Sheriff John Garcia.
The detainee is expected to appear in court in the next few hours in order to be held accountable for the massacre he caused.
“It’s a day of great pain for our community,” the Buffalo mayor told reporters. “Many of us have visited this supermarket several times. We can not allow this hated person to divide our community or our country.”
New York Democrat Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Justice Committee, said the attack appeared to be the work of a white racist and tweeted: “We need to pass a law to prevent domestic terrorism without delay. ».