The latest on the Buffalo supermarket mass shooting

By Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 9:35 PM ET, Mon May 16, 2022
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12:17 p.m. ET, May 16, 2022

Erie County district attorney says shooting suspect was intent on leaving market to kill more Black people

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

A crowd gathers as police investigate the shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo on Saturday.
A crowd gathers as police investigate the shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo on Saturday. (Joshua Bessex/AP)

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn told CNN it appears the Buffalo shooting suspect was intent on leaving the supermarket location to kill more Black people.

When asked by CNN’s John Berman about evidence that the gunman allegedly had some plan to kill more Black people after leaving the supermarket, Flynn said “it appears that way,” adding “we need to drill down further.”

Investigators are combing through evidence, including the home he lived in with his parents, the car he was using, evidence at the crime scene, and his social media, Flynn said. “We’re drilling down" on all of that, the district attorney said.

Authorities are also looking into everyone he was associated with before he drove to Buffalo and references in his diatribe.

Flynn said he is in “grand jury mode." He said that once the felony hearing happens on Thursday, he has 45 days to get the case against the suspect indicted. “This is going to move rather quickly,” he told CNN’s Berman.

Flynn said investigators are looking at whether the weapon used was modified.

8:55 a.m. ET, May 16, 2022

Shooting suspect remains on suicide watch and under constant supervision, Buffalo sheriff says 

From CNN’s Victor Blackwell and Amanda Watts

Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said the Buffalo shooting suspect is likely the “most highly visible incarcerated individual in this nation right now."

Speaking to CNN’s Victor Blackwell on Monday, Garcia said the suspect is under constant supervision.

The shooting suspect remains on suicide watch.

“We have an Erie County sheriff's jail deputy watching him at all times,” he said. “We also have video cameras in his cell and he's in a unit with no commingling with other incarcerated individuals.”

The shooting suspect has met with his legal team, Garcia said, adding that the sheriff's office is making sure that “justice is served and he has legal representation like everybody deserves. In this country we're innocent until proven guilty, so we are making sure that they spend as much time as needed.”

Garcia said there have been no family requests to visit the shooter while in custody.

 

12:18 p.m. ET, May 16, 2022

Alleged diatribe shows in chilling detail meticulous planning behind attack

From CNN’s Casey Tolan

A 180-page diatribe attributed to Payton Gendron and posted online just before he allegedly shot 13 people at a Buffalo supermarket, killing 10, shows in chilling detail the meticulous planning that apparently went into the racist massacre. 

Alongside tirades about his false belief that White Americans were being “replaced” by people of other races, the 18-year-old suspect allegedly included in the writing a hand-drawn map of the store he targeted, a minute-by-minute plan of the deadly attack, and pages upon pages listing the equipment and clothing he planned to wear – from military-style body armor down to the brand of his underwear.

CNN independently obtained the document shortly after the mass shooting and before authorities released the name of the suspect. Law enforcement sources have told CNN that the writing’s description of guns matches the weapons that the suspect used, and Gov. Kathy Hochul and other authorities have referred to the document in press conferences and interviews as clear evidence that the attack was racially motivated.  

“This manifesto tells everything to us, and that is what is so bone-chilling about it,” Hochul told CNN on Sunday. 

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn told CNN that “we are obviously going through [the document] with a fine-toothed comb and reviewing that for all evidence.”

Gendron, who was charged with first-degree murder on Saturday and pleaded not guilty, is from Conklin, New York, a small Southern Tier town near Binghamton, according to police and other authorities. He studied at SUNY Broome this school year but has not been enrolled there since March 22, a spokesperson for the college said. 

In the document, the author identified himself as Gendron and wrote that he had been “serious” about the Buffalo attack since January, practicing and training for it, but had been “buying ammo, surplus military gear and shooting irregularly” for years before.

The suspect allegedly chose to attack the Tops Friendly Markets store in Buffalo because it was in a majority-Black zip code within driving distance of where he lived, and researched what time it would be busiest, according to the diatribe.

The document included a minute-by-minute outline of the suspect’s plan, and the author drew a color-coded map of the interior of the store, laying out how he planned to “shoot all black people.” It’s unclear how closely the gunman’s attack followed the plan listed in the diatribe. 

Gendron also allegedly wrote that he planned to livestream a video of the attack on the online platform Twitch. Twitch said in a statement to CNN that the video was removed less than two minutes after the violence began. 

The document states that the suspect bought the main gun he used, a Bushmaster XM-15, from a gun store in Endicott, New York, Vintage Firearms, before “illegally modifying it.”

Vintage Firearms did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment, but the store's owner, Robert Donald, told the New York Times that Gendron passed a background check before he bought the gun and he didn't stick out among his other customers.

In the diatribe, Gendron allegedly details how he had been radicalized by reading online message boards, while describing the attack as terrorism and himself as a White supremacist. He wrote that he had “moved farther to the right” politically over the last three years. 

The suspect started browsing the message board 4chan – a hotbed for racist, sexist and White nationalist content – in May 2020 “after extreme boredom” during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the diatribe. Posts he had read on the site made him believe that “the White race is dying out,” among other racist beliefs, and led him down a rabbit hole to other extremist websites, the document states. 

The conspiracy theory of a “great replacement” has been a motivator of other violent attacks, experts in extremism have said. Some forms of the theory have more recently gone mainstream in conservative news outlets and politicians.

One day while browsing 4chan, Gendron saw a video clip of the gunman who killed 51 people in New Zealand at two mosques in 2019, according to the diatribe. That livestream “started everything you see here,” the document states.

In addition to the New Zealand massacre, Gendron was allegedly inspired by other racist mass shooters including the gunman who killed nine Black people at a Charleston, South Carolina, church in 2015, and the assailant who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011, according to the diatribe. The document includes dozens of pages of racist and anti-Semitic screeds – including some language that appears to be copied from the New Zealand shooter’s own writings.

8:52 a.m. ET, May 16, 2022

Tops Markets working with community to assist with grocery needs after shooting

From CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian

Flowers are left at a makeshift memorial outside of Tops market on May 15, 2022 in Buffalo, New York.
Flowers are left at a makeshift memorial outside of Tops market on May 15, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Tops Markets is providing free transportation to members of the Buffalo community affected by Saturday’s fatal shooting so that they are able “to ensure our neighbors are able to meet their grocery and pharmacy needs,” according to an update on Twitter from the grocery chain.

“While the Tops location at Jefferson Avenue will remain closed until further notice, we are steadfast in our commitment to serving every corner of our community as we have for the past 60 years,” the statement reads. “Knowing the importance of this location and serving families on the east side of the city, we have taken immediate steps to ensure our neighbors are able to meet their grocery and pharmacy needs by providing free bus shuttle service starting today.”

Tops Market said it is working closely with a representative of Masten District in securing free food and supplies to community members affected by Saturday’s shooting.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown emphasized the importance of the Tops Market located on Jefferson Avenue in a news conference Saturday saying that this particular supermarket location is “near and dear” to his heart.

“It’s one that I patronize from time to time,” the mayor said. “My family patronizes from time to time and some of the victims of this shooter's attack are people that all of us standing up here know.

More on the supermarket: Brown announced the construction of the Tops Market on Jefferson Ave in his 2016 State of the City Address. On Saturday he said that he had worked hard to bring the supermarket chain to that particular community. The Buffalo mayor was a major advocate in transforming that community with funding secured from city, state and federal resources to create housing opportunities for mixed-income families while also serving individuals with developmental disabilities, according to a statement released from his office in 2016.

“The site of the shooting was located in a so-called "food desert" and served as the lone supermarket within walking distance for many Buffalonians,” a statement from New York Governor Hochul reads.

Hochul announced a partnership with rideshare services Uber and Lyft to provide rides to and from local grocery stores for affected community members.

8:28 a.m. ET, May 16, 2022

Buffalo shooting suspect was in town on Friday, police commissioner says

From CNN’s Victor Blackwell and Amanda Watts

Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said the alleged shooting suspect was in town on Friday – the day before the shooting.

Speaking to CNN on Monday, Gramaglia said, “He was in town Friday. We have him through our license plate reader technology.” 

Additionally, he said officials have gotten video from several other stores and locations the suspect was at. Federal investigators have gotten warrants and have spoken to people who saw the suspect on Friday. 

“Our homicide detectives have interviewed numerous people, as has the FBI,” Gramaglia said. “I'm not going to get into what those statements were and what those interviews contained. But we have spoken to people that have stated to us that they spoke with the suspect.”

Officials continue to nail down his whereabouts in the days before the shooting.

“We're looking into phones, the live streaming camera, GPS, location, and anything else, social media, that we’ll find out what his exact trail was,” the commissioner said. 

“To this point, we don't have them earlier, that I'm aware of, but we're going to continue to look at that,” Gramaglia said, adding that it’s all part of the investigation.

7:47 p.m. ET, May 16, 2022

10 people were killed in the Buffalo mass shooting. Here are their names.

From CNN's Dakin Andone and Amir Vera

Thirteen people were shot — 10 fatally — at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket Saturday in a massacre authorities believe was racially motivated.

Eleven of the victims were Black and two were White, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Saturday.The victims range in age from 20 to 86, police said. Among them were a former police officer who tried to stop the gunman, the octogenarian mother of the city's former fire commissioner and a long-term substitute teacher.

Buffalo police identified all of the victims late Sunday. Here are the victims' names:

  • Roberta A. Drury, 32, of Buffalo
  • Margus D. Morrison, 52, of Buffalo
  • Andre Mackniel, 53, of Auburn  
  • Aaron Salter, 55, of Lockport
  • Geraldine Talley, 62, of Buffalo
  • Celestine Chaney, 65 of Buffalo
  • Heyward Patterson, 67, of Buffalo
  • Katherine Massey, 72, of Buffalo
  • Pearl Young, 77, of Buffalo
  • Ruth Whitfield, 86, of Buffalo 

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced $2.8 million in funding for the victims and their families, according to a statement from her office.

Read more about the victims here.

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled the last name of Andre Mackniel.

8:14 a.m. ET, May 16, 2022

Buffalo shooting suspect had plans to "continue his rampage," police commissioner says

From CNN’s Victor Blackwell and Amanda Watts

Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said the Buffalo shooting suspect had plans to “continue his rampage.”

In an interview with CNN on Monday, Gramaglia said, “there was evidence that was uncovered that he had plans, had he gotten out of here, to continue his rampage, and continue shooting people. He’d even spoken about possibly going to another store.”

Gramaglia said there is “some documentation” that he had plans to possibly shoot “another large superstore.”

“He was going to get in his car and continue to drive down Jefferson Avenue and continue doing the same thing,” he said.

12:19 p.m. ET, May 16, 2022

Authorities uncover more about the racially motivated attack in Buffalo

From CNN's Travis Caldwell

Outside a supermarket in a largely Black section of Buffalo, New York, mourners have been gathering to honor 10 people killed Saturday in a mass shooting, their pain intensified by what authorities say was the gunman's racially charged motive.

Shock in this community and around the nation has multiplied as more details have emerged of a racist diatribe allegedly written by the 18-year-old White man suspected of traveling nearly 200 miles from his home to unleash an attack at the grocery in a predominantly Black neighborhood.

Eleven of the 13 people shot were Black, officials said, and the massacre is being investigated as a hate crime. The victims range in age from 20 to 86, police said, among them a former police officer who tried to stop the gunman and a 62-year-old doing her regular grocery, shopping with her fiancé.

The shooting, which also left three wounded, was a "straight-up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community," Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said. "This was pure evil."

The gunman opened fire Saturday afternoon outside a Tops Friendly Markets store, shooting to death several people in the parking lot before entering the building. He exchanged gunfire with an armed security guard -- who was killed -- and shot more people inside, then exited and surrendered to police.

Investigators believe the suspect was in Buffalo a day before the shooting and did some reconnaissance at the Tops Friendly Markets store, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said. They also believe he acted alone, Gramaglia said.

The suspect, Payton S. Gendron, pleaded not guilty Saturday night to a charge of first-degree murder, Buffalo City Court Chief Judge Craig Hannah told CNN, and the district attorney has said he expects to file more charges. Gendron is in custody without bail and under suicide watch, Garcia said. If convicted, he faces a maximum of life in prison without parole.

"I'm sad, I'm hurt, I'm mad because I never thought this would have happened here in the city of Buffalo," resident Liz Bosley told CNN affiliate Spectrum News NY1.

Read more here.