Payton Gendron, 18, of Conklin, NY, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. He is being held without bail and faces life in prison. He is due back in court on Thursday
A teenaged gunman who allegedly murdered 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket planned the attack for months before he drove for three hours to carry out the vile ambush that was believed to be motivated by his hated of black people.
Federal agents interviewed the parents of Payton Gendron, the teenager accused of firing a barrage of 50 shots at the supermarket that killed 10 people, a law enforcement official said on Sunday.
Gendron, 18, of Conklin, NY, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder following Saturday’s attack. He is being held without bail and faces life in prison. Gendron is due back in court on Thursday.
Gendron’s parents were cooperating with investigators, the official – who asked to remain anonymous – said.
Police say a rambling text of a 180-page manifesto that Gendron posted before going on his rampage included a plan of the attack which detailed driving several counties away to carry out the shooting at the Tops Friendly Market.
Gendron identified himself as a white supremacist in the document as he explained his fears white people are being replaced by other races, police said.
‘The shooter traveled hours from outside this community to perpetrate this crime on the people of Buffalo, a day when people were enjoying the sunshine, enjoying family, enjoying friends,’ Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at a Saturday evening news conference.
‘People in a supermarket, shopping and bullets raining down on them. People’s lives being snuffed out in an instant for no reason.’
Officials said the rifle Gendron used in the attack was purchased legally but the magazines he used for ammunition were not allowed to be sold in New York.
A preliminary investigation found Gendron had repeatedly visited sites espousing white supremacist ideologies and race-based conspiracy theories and extensively researched the 2019 mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the man who killed dozens at a summer camp in Norway in 2011, the official said.
It wasn’t immediately clear why Gendron had traveled about 200 miles from his Conklin, New York, to Buffalo and that particular grocery store, but investigators believe Gendron had specifically researched the demographics of the population around the Tops Friendly Markey and had been searching for communities with a high number of African American residents, the official said. The market is located in a predominantly Black neighborhood.
Police said Gendron, wearing military gear and livestreaming with a helmet camera, shot, in total, 11 Black people and two white people Saturday in a rampage that the 18-year-old broadcast live before surrendering to authorities. Screenshots purporting to be from the Twitch broadcast appear to show a racial epithet scrawled on the rifle used in the attack, as well as the number 14, a likely reference to a white supremacist slogan.
Among the dead was security guard Aaron Salter – a retired Buffalo police officer – who fired multiple shots at Gendron, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Saturday. A bullet hit the gunman’s armor, but had no effect. Gendron then killed Salter, before hunting more victims.
Shopper Ruth Whitfield, an 86-year-old grandmother, who is also the mother of former Buffalo fire commissioner Garnell Witfiel, and Katherine Massey, who had gone to the store to pick up some groceries, were also was killed, according to the Buffalo News.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told churchgoers that he saw the former fire official at the shooting scene Saturday, looking for his mother.
‘My mother had just gone to see my father, as she does every day, in the nursing home and stopped at the Tops to buy just a few groceries.
‘And nobody has heard from her,’ Whitfield told the mayor then. She was confirmed as a victim later in the day, Brown said.
Pearly Young, 77, who for 25 years fed needy residents in the Buffalo’s Central Park neighborhood, was shot and killed during the massacre, reporter Madison Carter tweeted.
‘For 25 years she ran a pantry where every Saturday she fed people in Central Park. Every. Saturday. She loved singing, dancing, & being with family. She was mother, grandma, & missionary. Gone too soon,’ Carter wrote in the tweet.
Several mourners posted about Young on social media, describing her as a loving grandmother who lived her life to help others.
‘YOU DID NOT DESERVE THIS!!!!’ Jimmie Smith posted on Facebook with a picture of Young.
Police say the rambling text of a 180-page manifesto that Payton Gendron (pictured here) posted included a plan of the attack which detailed driving several counties away to carry out the rampage the Tops Friendly Market
An image of the suspected shooter in his car livestreaming an attack on a Buffalo supermarket that left 10 people dead
Law-enforcement officers stand guard outside TOPS supermarket Sunday following a shooting in Buffalo
Flowers and candles lay outside the scene of a shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo on Sunday
Erie County Sheriff John Garcia expressly called the shooting a hate crime. ‘This was pure evil,’ Garcia said. Twitch said in a statement that it ended Gendron’s transmission ‘less than two minutes after the violence started.’
The mass shooting further unsettled a nation wracked with racial tensions, gun violence and a spate of hate crimes. A day before, Dallas police had said they were investigating shootings in the city’s Koreatown as hate crimes.
The Buffalo attack came just a month after a shooting on a Brooklyn subway wounded 10 and just over a year after 10 were killed in a shooting at a Colorado supermarket.
Gendron, confronted by police in the store’s vestibule following the shooting, put a rifle to his neck but was convinced to drop it. He was arraigned later Saturday on a murder charge, appearing before a judge in a paper gown.
A witness to the shooting recalls the the horrifying moments that unfolded when she saw the gunman began firing at people in the parking lot at the supermarket across from her home on Saturday.
Katherine Crofton, a retired firefighter, told the New York Post she heard the first shot and when she turned around and ‘saw him shoot the guy and the lady.’
Crofton said she then ‘immediately heard a shot,’ and realized ‘hero’ supermarket security guard Aaron Salter Jr. had been fatally shot because of the continued gunfire.
‘I knew Aaron was dead because he kept going,’ she said. She described him as a ‘good security guard,’ who ‘didn’t take no sh-t.’ Crofton said the rampage continued.
‘You hear him walk into the store shooting people, just, ‘pop, pop, pop,’ Crofton recalled. ‘He was in full combat gear – helmet, body armor, everything. He was loaded.’
When the gunman walked back out of the store, Crofton said she remembers the look on this face.
‘His face was just blank. There was no expression on his face,’ she said. ‘It was just blank.’
Gendron was arrested Saturday after allegedly killing 10 people at a Tops Market supermarket in Buffalo, Upstate New York. Police say the massacre was motivated by the 18 year-old’s hatred for black people
The Tops supermarket released a statement on Sunday morning, according to NewsChannel9.
Retired Buffalo Police Department cop Aaron Salter, pictured right, has been named as the first victim of the tragedy. He was working as a store security guard and shot Gendron, who returned fire and killed Salter
Ruth Witfield, 86, the mother of former Buffalo fire commissioner Garnell Witfield was also killed in the murder spree
The Tops supermarket released a statement on Sunday morning, according to News9.
The statement reads: ‘The Tops family is heartbroken over the senseless violence that impacted associates and customers at our store on Jefferson Avenue.
‘We are working quickly to make sure that all of our associates have access to counseling and support that they may need.
‘Tops has been committed to this community and the city of Buffalo for decades and this tragedy will not change that commitment.
‘We are working to find alternatives for our customers in this community while our store is closed and will provide updates in the near future.’
The victims killed in the shooting were remembered in a vigil service at True Bethel Baptist Church in Buffalo on Sunday morning.
As True Bethel’s Darius Pridgen spoke, ‘someone rushed in and caused a disturbance, appeared to yell ‘put down the gun,’ Jon Harris with Buffalo News tweeted. ‘They rushed him out and said, ‘not today.’ ‘Don’t hurt him, just get him the help he needs,’ Pridgen said.
‘Before that, Pridgen said a man named Charles, who is singing today at True Bethel, was at the hospital yesterday after his grandson was among those shot,’ he tweeted.
In another tweet, Harris said, ‘Pridgen said he’s been getting calls, saying the 18 year old shooter’s brain wasn’t fully developed.
‘His brain was developed enough to write an entire manifesto,’ he said, noting he cares more about the mental health of those who lost a loved one yesterday.’
At the vigil Sunday at True Bethel Baptist Church, Gov. Kathy Hochul spoke about standing up to racism and ensure that a shooting like the one on Saturday never happens again
Buffalo residents mourn at the site of the supermarket where 10 people were fatally shot
At the vigil Sunday at True Bethel Baptist Church, Gov. Kathy Hochul spoke about standing up to racism and ensure that a shooting like the one on Saturday never happens again.
‘It’s been a hard 24 hours. Our hearts are broken. … Lord, forgive the anger in my heart right now,’ she said.
‘I want people to talk about Buffalo as the last place this ever happened,’ Hochul continued. ‘An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us, because we are all God’s people.’
Officials at the Susquehanna Valley High School brought in New York State Police to investigate Gendron in June of 2021 after he made statements that he would shoot fellow students.
A year later he ended up shooting 13 people – 10 of them fatally – during an attack motivated by his hatred for black people at a Top Market supermarket in Buffalo.
Mourners embrace a day after a shooting at a supermarket, in Buffalo claimed 10 lives
A prayer vigil was held Sunday morning outside the Tops Supermarket in Buffalo where 10 people were shot and killed
Flowers and candles were left for the victims of the Buffalo supermarket shooting
A man is seen mourning outside the Buffalo supermarket on Sunday, a day after 10 people were fatally shot
Stephanie Morris is overcome with emotions outside of a scene of a shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo on Sunday
People pay their respects outside the scene of a shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo
A cyclist pauses passes the scene of a shooting at a supermarket, in Buffalo on Sunday
‘A school official reported that this very troubled young man had made statements indicating that he wanted to do a shooting, either at a graduation ceremony, or sometime after,’ a government source told the Buffalo News.
After police looked into the account, Gendron was referred for mental health evaluation and counseling.
Classmates said that he often acted strangely at times and espoused extremist views on politics.
Last year, one former student recalled, Gendron wore a hazmat suit to school for a week. She believed it had something to do with protecting himself from the coronavirus, but she didn’t rule out the fact that he was making a joke.
‘It was the most extra thing that I ever saw him do,’ a former classmate who asked not to be named said.
There were other indications of Gendron’s fragile mental state.
During a class exercise in political class in which the students created their own countries with the government of their choice, Gendron’s pick was an autocratic regime that the classmate described as ‘Hitler-esque.’
‘His views were extreme,’ the student said. ‘You could pick any form of government that you wanted and he picked a totalitarian government.’
Payton Gendron is pictured at his arraignment Saturday, as disturbing details of his extremist views emerged
The classmate recalled that he almost collided with her head on in his car, but she brushed it off at the time to careless driving.
‘He was definitely into video games – shooter games,’ she said.
‘It’s so mind-blowing to think that it could have been us,’ she said. ‘I know he had his manifesto, but what if he decided to do a test run on us.’
For the most part he was quiet, but she said he would ‘smile weirdly’ when he spoke to people. She said she didn’t remember him every having a girlfriend.
Gendron is one of four boys born to Paul and Pamela Gendron, two civil engineers with the state who live in Conklin, NY, three and half hours south of Buffalo. Paul coached his kids in the town soccer league and at least one neighbor found him ‘strange.’ His mother appeared conceited, locals said.
‘He’s from this pristine family,’ a schoolmate said. ‘They have everything together, they were just perfect.’
In photos posted by his mother on Facebook, Payton Gendron appears to tower over his father and others.
‘He was 6’1’ or 6’2” his schoolmate said. ‘He was a big guy.’
The family appears to be a tight-knit suburban family that played LaserTag together, when to Autumn festivals, the beach and dined together in restaurants. Neighbors said they were odd.
The gunman opened fire around 2.30pm on Saturday while livestreaming the shooting
Bystanders and shoppers gathered outside the supermarket where the shooting took place
‘To be honest, the mother was kind of snooty,’ a local parent who asked not to be named said. ‘Like she was better than everyone else. The father was strange. Like when you meet someone and they just seem off.’
A neighbor recalled him bringing home a human-sized Brontosaurus that he build for a school project. School records show that he was a good student and made high honors in his senior year, scoring higher than 92 percent in all his classes.
Facebook photos show that Gendron went on a few college tours and spent some time enrolled in Broome County Community College. A college spokeswoman told he Buffalo News that he was no longer enrolled.
‘They have a really nice family,’ neighbor Nancy Santucci said. ‘They seem like regular people. In a million years I never would think that anyone from this neighborhood would drive to Buffalo to carry out a racially motivated shooting.’
‘I’m just shocked,’ she said.
Buffalo police department responded to the scene of a mass shooting that left 10 people dead and three wounded
The young man posted a 180-page manifesto online before the shooting espousing the paranoid white supremacist views that whites were being replaced in American by people of color.
In the screed, he says that he was radicalize by 4Chan, the same online chat group that launched Qanon. He claims that critical race theory is a Jewish plot to undermine white which he argues is a reason to kill Jews.
He also refers to other mass shootings carried out to further racist ideology like Dylan Roof, who who killed nine people in a black church in South Carolina and New Zealand lunatic Brenton Tarrant, who murdered 51 people in mosque.
Gendron also espoused the ‘great replacement theory’, which claims Democrats are deliberately importing illegal migrants into the US wholesale to achieve electoral dominance while driving whites to extinction.
On Saturday night, Gendron who was barefoot, masked and wearing a paper smock, told the judge that he understood the charge against and was not guilty at an arraignment Saturday evening.
He has only been charged with one count of first-degree murder. Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said the judge ordered a forensic examination and ordered him held without bail.
‘We have taken the necessary steps to get him behind bars,’ he said. ‘That was justice. Getting that first murder charge filed immediately.’
The suspected gunman, seen here, killed ten people and wounded three others in a Buffalo supermarket
The DA said that they are working with federal authorities to bring further terrorism, hate crime and murder charges.
He made no other comment, and Gendron’s lawyer confirmed he planned to plead not guilty to the killings. Conklin has since been pictured in social media profiles.
Hours earlier Gendron was caught by police emerging from the Tops Friendly Supermarket, at 1275 Jefferson Avenue about 2.30pm after shooting 13 people, 10 fatally.
Survivors have since told of how they fled to the supermarket’s freezer in terror. And operations manager Shonnell Harris told of how she fled out the back of the shop to what she hoped was safety – only to see Gendron gun down a victim in front of her.
Police said 11 of those shot were black, with the other two white, and suggested Gendron had walked through the supermarket looking for specific people to target, although didn’t say whether this was based on the color of their skin.
Aaron Salter Jr, a former Buffalo police officer, is the first victim that’s been named in the attack. The father of three is being hailed as a hero after exchanging gunfire with Gendron inside the market.
Gendron apparently scrawled the n-word on his rifle before carrying out Saturday’s massacre at Tops Friendly Supermarket in Buffalo.
Payton traveled from his home in Conklin, New York, to carry out the atrocity. He lived there with his father Paul (pictured unpixellated) and mom Pamela, pictured in red, both of whom are engineers for the New York Department of Transportation
Payton Gendron, 18, far left, holds a harmless facsimile to the automatic rifles that he used to murder 10 people in a Buffalo supermarket
Payton and his mom, Pamela Gendron, enjoy a day out at the amusement park. Neighbors say that outwardly they appeared to be the perfect family
Payton Gendron, left rear, dining on steam crabs with his brothers and father, who works as a civil engineer for New York State
Gendron lived-streamed the assault as he opened fire inside the Tops Friendly Supermarket, at 1275 Jefferson Avenue, at about 2.30pm.
Police described the incident as a ‘heavily armed’ attack.
‘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,’ city Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said at a news conference.
Officers in riot gear secure the crime scene after 13 people were shot, three fatally, inside a Buffalo supermarket
Gendron shot four people outside the store, three fatally, the commissioner said. He then went into the supermarket where he exchanged gunfire with Salter. The ex-cop shot at him multiple times but the bullets hit the shooter’s body arm and left him unfazed, the commissioner said.
Gendron then killed killed Salter.
A further six victims are believed to have been shot dead inside.
Salter’s son, Aaron Salter Jr., hailed his father for trying to stop the maniac gunman.
‘Today is a shock,’ he told the Daily Beast. ‘I’m pretty sure he saved some lives today. He’s a hero.’
The killings were broadcast live on streaming site Twitch, although the clip was removed within two minutes of its posting.
Ruth Whitfield, the 86-year-old mother of retired Buffalo fire commissioner Garnell W. Witfield, was also killed during the shooting spree.
‘My mom was the consummate mom. mother was a mother to the motherless. She was a blessing to all of us. She loved God and taught us to do the same thing,’ the former commissioner told the Buffalo News.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul blasted Gendron’s ‘demented’ killings and called for a crackdown on social media firms, who she said effectively acted as an ‘accomplice’ by letting mass-shooters like Gendron glorify their crimes.
President Joe Biden expressed his condolences to the families who lost loved-ones in the attack and denounced the white supremacy as ‘repugnant.’
‘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,’ Biden said. ‘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.’
‘This was pure evil, it was straight up a racially motivated hate crime,’ the Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said.
‘This is the worst nightmare that any community can face, and we are hurting and we are seething right now,’ Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at a news conference. ‘The depth of pain that families are feeling and that all of us are feeling right now cannot even be explained.’
The shooting took place on Saturday at the Tops supermarket (pictured) at 1275 Jefferson Avenue, in Buffalo, New York. At least 10 people were shot
The young man drove hours from the white suburban town of Conklin, just outside Binghamton, to the scene of the massacre.
As the shooting unfolded, Gramaglia said, Buffalo police charged into the store and confronted the gunman in the vestibule.
‘At that point the suspect put the gun to his own neck. Buffalo police personnel – two patrol officers – talked the suspect into dropping the gun. He dropped the gun, took off some of his tactical gear, surrendered at that point. And he was led outside, put in a police car,’ he said.
The video of the arrest seen by DailyMail.com shows police cuffing the suspect and trying to get people away from the scene as several bodies lie motionless on the ground.
‘A shooter, it’s a mass shooter type s***,’ one of the onlookers says as police and emergency responders detain the man in the military uniform.
‘Damn, look at him, a young boy,’ the onlooker adds as he comments on one of the bodies.
Police then instruct the onlookers to back up as they take control of the situation.
Hours after the shooting, Erica Pugh-Mathews waited outside the police tape wondering what happened to family members who were inside the store.
‘We would like to know the status of my aunt, my mother’s sister. She was in there with her fiance, they separated and went to different aisles,’ she said. ‘A bullet barely missed him. He was able to hide in a freezer but he was not able to get to my aunt and does not know where she is. We just would like word either way if she’s OK.’
Officials speaking under the condition of anonymity cautioned the investigation was in its preliminary stages and that authorities hadn’t yet discerned a clear motive, but they are looking into racial animus a possibility.
The FBI is investigating the spree as a hate crime and a ‘case of racially motivated violent extremism,’ Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo field office Stephen Blodgett told the New York Times. The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York will also investigate the case.
Heavily armed officer confer outside the Tops Friendly Supermarket located in a predominately black neighborhood just north of downtown Buffalo
The gunman was carrying two rifles and wore a Kevlar helmet, seen here, body armor and carried two rifles
The supermarket is located in a predominately black neighborhood, about 3 miles north of downtown Buffalo.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland was briefed on the shooting, according to Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley.
Eric County Executive Mark Polonczar confirmed that there had been a shooting in the area and that residents should stay away from the supermarket.
‘I have been advised of an active multiple shooting event at the Tops Markets on Jefferson Street in Buffalo,’ Poloncarz tweeted. ‘Police are on scene. Please stay away from the area.’
New York Governor Kathy Hochul tweeted that she was ‘closely monitoring the shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo,’ which is her hometown. She said the state has offered assistance to local officials.
Braedyn Kephart and Shane Hill, both 20, pulled into the parking lot just as the shooter was exiting.
They described him as a white male in his late teens or early twenties sporting full camo, a black helmet and what appeared to be a rifle.
‘He was standing there with the gun to his chin. We were like what the heck is going on? Why does this kid have a gun to his face?’ Kephart said.
‘He dropped to his knees. He ripped off his helmet, dropped his gun, and was tackled by the police.’
Flowers are placed outside Tops supermarket in Buffalo where White Supremacist killed 10 people in Buffalo
A cyclist pauses outside of a scene of a shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo on Sunday
Will G., a frozen dairy worker at the supermarket, said he walked out of the cooler to stock milk when the shooting occurred.
‘I just heard shots. Shots and shots and shots,’ he told Buffalo News. ‘It sounded like things were falling over.’
He added that he hid in the cooler and that more people joined him to take shelter from the gunfire.
‘I hid. I just hid,’ he said. I wasn’t going to leave that room.’
Police officials and a spokesperson for the supermarket chain did not immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.
The surrounding area is primarily residential, with a Family Dollar store and fire station near the store.
Police closed off the block, lined by spectators, and yellow police tape surrounded the full parking lot. Mayor Byron Brown was at the scene late Saturday afternoon and expected to address the media.
The shooting came little more than a year after a March 2021 attack at a King Soopers grocery in Boulder, Colorado, that killed 10 people.
Investigators have not released any information about why they believe the man charged in that attack targeted the supermarket.