BUFFALO, NY (AP) – An armed man wearing military-like clothing and armor opened fire with a rifle in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, killing at least 10 people before being arrested Saturday afternoon, law enforcement officials told The Associated Press .
Details of the number of additional people shot at Tops Friendly Market and their conditions were not immediately available. The two officials were not allowed to speak publicly about the case and did so on condition of anonymity. The suspect was questioned Saturday night by the FBI, one of the officials said.
Investigators believe the gunman may have streamed the shooting through a camera attached to his helmet, one of the officials said. The video showed the gunman, dressed in military gear, pulling up to the front of the store with a rifle in the front seat and then pointing the gun at people in the parking lot as he left the vehicle and opened fire, the official said.
It also shows that the suspect enters the supermarket and shoots several other victims inside, the official said. One of the victims was a recently retired police officer who worked as a security guard in the store, according to the official.
One of the officials warned that the investigation was in its initial phase and that the authorities had not yet found a clear motive, but investigated whether the shooting was racistly motivated.
The supermarket is located in a predominantly black neighborhood, about 3 miles north of downtown Buffalo. The surrounding area is primarily residential, with a Family Dollar store and fire station near the store.
Buffalo police confirmed the shooter was remanded in custody in a tweet, but did not identify the suspect. Police officials did not immediately respond to messages from the AP seeking comment.
Witnesses reported that the armed man was wearing military-like clothing in addition to the armor, one of the officials said
Braedyn Kephart and Shane Hill, both 20, pulled into the parking lot just as the shooter was on his way out. They described him as a white man in his late teens or early twenties with a 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 hell is going on there? Why does this kid have a gun to his face? “Said Kephart. He fell to his knees.” He ripped off his helmet, dropped his gun, and was attacked by police. “
In the White House, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden receives regular updates on the shooting and its aftermath.
“The president has been briefed by his Homeland Security adviser on the horrific shooting in Buffalo, NY, this afternoon. He will continue to receive updates during the evening and tomorrow as further information develops,” she said, adding , that the President and First Lady prayed for the victims and their loved ones.
Tops Friendly Markets issued a statement saying, “We are shocked and deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence, and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”
Police closed the block off, surrounded by spectators, and yellow police tapes surrounded the full parking lot. Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz were on the scene late Saturday afternoon, gathered in a parking lot across the street from the Tops store and expected to address the media.
More than two hours after the shooting, Erica Pugh-Mathews was waiting outside the store behind police tapes.
“We want to know the status of my aunt, my mother’s sister. She was in there with her fiancé, they went apart and went to different times, ”she said. “A bullet barely missed him. He was able to hide in a freezer, but he was unable to get to my aunt and does not know where she is. We just want to be notified in both ways if she’s okay. ”
Governor Kathy Hochul tweeted that she “closely monitored the shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo,” her hometown. She said government officials have offered help to local authorities. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office said on social media that it ordered all available personnel to assist Buffalo police.
Attorney General Merrick Garland was briefed on the shooting, Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said.
The shooting came just over a year after an attack in March 2021 on a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado that killed 10 people. Investigators have not released any information as to why they believe the man charged in the attack was aimed at the supermarket.
Associated Press reporters John Wawrow of Buffalo and Eric Tucker of Washington contributed to this report. Balsamo reported from Washington and Collins reported from Hartford, Connecticut.