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Details emerge about the suspect in the Buffalo mass shooting

A headshot of Payton S. Gendron.
Erie County District Attorney's Office
Payton S. Gendron has been charged with first degree murder charges in connection with Saturday's shooting at an East Side Buffalo grocery store.

A white gunman dressed in military-style clothing allegedly killed 10 people and injured three others on Saturday at a grocery store in a predominately Black neighborhood in Buffalo, N.Y., authorities say.

The suspect, who is 18, was arraigned Saturday evening and charged with first-degree murder. He was remanded without bail. Gendron is scheduled to return on Thursday morning for a felony hearing. If convicted of the charge, Gendron faces maximum sentence of life in prison without parole.

Officials say they are investigating the attack as a racially motivated hate crime and are considering a terrorism charge.

“This is a tragic day in the City of Buffalo," said Erie County District Attorney John Flynn. "This defendant is accused of traveling to our area and targeting innocent people who were shopping for their groceries on a Saturday afternoon. I continue to pray for all affected by this horrific crime. I am committed to obtaining justice for the victims, their families and this community. My office is working closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our partners in law enforcement into potential terrorism and hate crimes. This is an active investigation and additional charges may be filed.”

“Tonight, the country mourns the victims of a senseless, horrific shooting in Buffalo, New York," said U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. "The FBI and ATF are working closely with the Buffalo Police Department and federal, state, and local law enforcement partners. The Justice Department is investigating this matter as a hate crime and an act of racially-motivated violent extremism. The Justice Department is committed to conducting a thorough and expeditious investigation into this shooting and to seeking justice for these innocent victims.”

The FBI is separately investigating the incident and has set up a website to gather photos and videos from the incident.

Here's what we know about the suspect.

He previously threatened to attack his high school

The suspected shooter threatened his high school in Conklin, N.Y. in June of last year. Authorities say the threat was general, and did not outline specific people or a place.

"The state police responded. They investigated. They interviewed the subject. And they felt at the time it was appropriate to have that individual brought in for a mental health evaluation," said Buffalo police commissioner Joseph Gramaglia at a press conference Sunday.

The suspected gunman was released after a day and a half in the hospital.

He livestreamed the attack

The alleged gunman livestreamed the shooting on Twitch, an interactive content streaming service. Twitch said the original stream was removed less than two minutes after the attack began.

Twitch suspended the suspected shooter from the platform indefinitely.

Footage of the shooting circulated online after Twitch took down the video. A minute-long clip posted on Facebook was taken down because it violated the platform's community standards.

After amassing thousands of views, a similar clip on Twitter was taken down for violating the company's terms of service.

He left behind a racist screed

Writings authored by someone whose name matched that of the suspected shooter were posted to anonymous message board 4chan. The alleged shooter cites "extreme boredom" as a catalyst to his radicalization.

In the 180-page document, the shooter references "the great replacement," which is a white supremacist conspiracy theory that claims people of color are being brought into the U.S. and other Western countries to overtake and "replace" white voters in the name of a political agenda.

The Anti-Defamation League says white supremacists blame Jews for nonwhite immigration to the U.S.

The gunman who killed 51 people in New Zealand mosques in 2019 believed in the same theory. The suspected shooter at the Buffalo grocery store said the gunman in New Zealand was an inspiration.

He wore tactical gear and police recovered weaponry in his car

The suspected shooter wore body armor and military-style clothing during the attack.

Aaron Salter, a security guard at the grocery store, fired at the suspected shooter, but the bullet didn't break through the suspect's armor. Salter is among those killed in the attack.

The suspected gunman used a Bushmaster AR-15 style assault rifle to carry out the attack at the Tops supermarket. Police recovered another rifle and a shotgun in his car.
Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. WBFO's Marian Hetherly contributed to this story.

Rina Torchinsky