BUFFALO, N.Y. — A shooting at Tops Market on Jefferson Avenue Saturday afternoon around 2:30 p.m. killed 10 people, Buffalo Police Department announced.
Buffalo Police told 2 On Your Side that in all, 13 people were shot. Eleven of the victims are African American, two are white. Four of the victims were store employees, they said.
A spokesperson for ECMC said as of Sunday morning two of the survivors have been discharged. The other survivor is in stable condition, but no information is available yet about a potential discharge.
The suspect's name is Payton S. Gendron, 18, of Conklin, New York. He was arraigned and charged with first degree murder Saturday night.
"What started out as a beautiful day in the City of Buffalo has turned into a terrible day, and one of tremendous heartbreak for every member of our community," said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown on Saturday.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Saturday the suspect drove to the Tops on Jefferson Avenue, exited his vehicle and engaged four people in the parking lot. He allegedly shot the four people, killing three. The other person was taken to the hospital to be treated.
Gramaglia said the suspect had on tactical gear and was wearing a camera to live stream the event on social media.
A security guard, who has been identified as retired Buffalo Police officer Aaron Salter, fired multiple shots that struck the suspect, but because he was wearing an armored plate, it did not affect the alleged shooter, Gramaglia said. The suspect allegedly shot and killed the retired officer.
The suspect then went through the store and made his way back towards the front of the store. Buffalo Police engaged the suspect in the vestibule of the store, they said. It was then that the suspect put his gun to his own neck. He eventually dropped the gun and took off some of his tactical gear and surrendered to police, they said.
Gramaglia said on Sunday that police were on scene within two minutes of the first 911 call about the shooting. He also confirmed that they completed the process of identifying the victims Saturday evening and notified the families through their family reunification center.
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn called the shooting a hate crime and said they have evidence that there was some 'racial animosity.'
"I'm not going to specifically talk about or elaborate on what exactly they are right now, but we have evidence in custody right now that shows there is some racial component to these alleged actions," said Flynn.
Gendron was arraigned in Buffalo City Court Saturday evening on a first degree murder charge. He is currently being held without bail. His next court date is May 19 for a felony hearing.
Buffalo Police say warrants have been obtained on both the state and federal levels and they will be looking at digital platforms, computers, phones, cameras and anything else that comes into play in the investigation.
Gramaglia says the crime scene is still being held and that the FBI is bringing in specialized equipment to help process the scene. He says the evidence they have collected so far "makes no mistake that this is an absolute hate crime."
Several people were in the parking lot during the incident and witnessed some of the scenes.
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.”
Police closed off the block, lined by spectators, and yellow police taped surrounded the full parking lot.
In the wake of Saturday's events, Gov. Kathy Hochul made her way to Buffalo and addressed the media that evening. She was still in Buffalo Sunday and was present at an afternoon press conference.
"To listen to the FBI and hearing that there is a Buffalo Shooting Website. That just short of struck me. Now we are known as the place of the 'Buffalo Shooting.' We are so much more than that," Hochul said.
Hochul also made an appearance at True Bethel Baptist Church Sunday morning.
She said, "People will talk about Buffalo, but I want them to talk about Buffalo as the last place this ever happened. We will let this end right here because we are going to rise up and all of our white brothers and sisters need to be standing up as well in churches all across this state, all across this nation, because an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us because we are all God's people. And I will use every bit of the power I have as your Governor to protect you."
Sunday morning Tops released the following statement:
"The Tops family is heartbroken over the senseless violence that impacted our 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 to 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 the store is closed and will provide updates in the near future."
Tops issued the following statement Saturday:
"We are shocked and deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. 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."
Attorney General Merrick Garland was briefed on the shooting, Justice Department spokesperson Anthony Coley said.
2 On Your Side's Pete Gallivan was at the scene this morning: