Two hundred miles. That’s how far a man from Conklin, New York, traveled before he allegedly murdered 10 people and injured three others at a supermarket on Saturday in what authorities say was a racially motivated attack in a predominantly black part of Buffalo. Eleven of the victims were black and two were white.
The 18-year-old suspect has multiple reports of killing a cancer survivor, a retired police officer, a missionary who ran a pantry and a deacon, to name a few.
Twenty-four hours. Authorities believe Payton Gendron, the suspected shooter, is at Tops Friendly Markets on Jefferson Ave. 1275 disguised before strapping on a body camera to live-stream the May 14 killings on Twitch, an interactive social media platform, while wearing military guns, according to ABC News, firing 50 rounds inside and outside the store.
Gendron was quickly taken into custody by the Buffalo Police Department and charged with first-degree murder, according to officials. The attack is being investigated as a hate crime and the FBI is investigating the case separately as hate crime and racially motivated violent extremism.
Tops has issued a statement that the target store will remain closed until further notice and is working with a local council to provide free groceries and supplies to customers.
Earnest Flowers, a black supermarket owner in St Albans, said the Earnest Foods family was heartbroken by the incident and the impact it is having on so many families.
Flowers said there will be on-duty security training for his employees and that he is hiring security for the evening and has asked the NYPD to come by more often.
“This incident is a perfect example of man’s inhumanity to man,” Flowers said. “The actions of the shooter should not be blamed on the current political or social environment. Our country has never been perfect. Sagittarius is 100 percent responsible for this evil and selfish incident. It was an affront to everything human and decent in our society.”
The NYPD said it reached out to its partners at BPD upon learning of the attack and offered to run Gendron through its databases to see if it had any information of value to Buffalo’s department or whether there was a connection to New York City.
“While we believe New York City is not threatened by this incident, as a precaution we have shifted counterterrorism and patrol resources to pay particular attention to a number of locations and areas, including large houses of worship in color” , an NYPD spokesman told the Queens Chronicle via email.
Rev. Patrick O’Connor of the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica emailed the Chronicle that he had not received an additional police presence but that something needed to be done regarding gun control.
“The Buffalo shooting is appalling and our prayers go out to all the families affected by this senseless violence,” O’Connor said. “It’s time for a real boost in gun control. Dangerous individuals should not have easy access to high-powered weapons.”
The Bushmaster XM-15 rifle, emblazoned with racial nicknames and used by the alleged suspect, was reportedly obtained legally.
However, it was illegally modified to hold more rounds, Governor Hochul said during an interview with NY1.
“We have the toughest gun laws in the nation, but people can come in from other states so easily,” Hochul said. “The gun, purchased in New York State, was not suitable for Saturday’s massacre. This was an execution-style massacre. What the perpetrator did was, across the border in Pennsylvania, literally 10 minutes from his home, bought an upgraded magazine and put it on the gun.”
Hochul said she will do her best to close gun loopholes in New York, but there must be a national response as guns and magazines flow from abroad.
President Biden said via Twitter that hate cannot have a safe haven and that the nation must do everything in its power to end domestic hate-fueled terrorism.
“Any act of domestic terrorism, including an act committed in the name of a repugnant white nationalist ideology, is contrary to everything we stand for in America,” Biden added.
While Biden didn’t elaborate on what he would do regarding gun control, Rochdale Village chairman Clifton Stanley Diaz said security in the non-gun use co-op is being more vigilant and increasing their public interaction with the 113 .district.
“The racism issue needs to be addressed in order to change some of these laws,” Diaz said. “There must be consequences”
Diaz is concerned about the proliferation of ghost weapons that cannot be traced because they don’t have a serial number, although none were used in Buffalo.
“It also poses a problem for the community and law enforcement,” Diaz said. “Judges release people and they commit crimes, that’s a different problem. These laws need to be changed. Politicians cannot say they will do nothing about it. The community says we want you to do something about it.”
Diaz also said social media posts need more scrutiny.
Hochul shared his feelings.
“There are white supremacists,” Hochul said. “But they don’t hide their identities behind hoods and riding horses, they do it in their own homes and share hate speech.”
Hate speech is being circulated on cable news channels and the internet, Hochul added.
“This is where the poison is stirred up and fermented,” Hochul said. “You look at the language used by the person who massacred 51 people in New Zealand – his words were almost verbatim in the manifesto by the person who murdered people on the streets of Buffalo… social media Platforms have a responsibility to ensure this is taken down the second it occurs, alert law enforcement and start being responsible citizens so this doesn’t spread.”
Hochul’s comments, posted to Twitter, follow electric carmaker Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has shelved his proposed $44 billion buyout deal of the social media platform over spam accounts.
Musk has said he doesn’t want to regulate content on Twitter beyond what is required by countries’ laws.
113th Precinct Parish Council President Garfield Towler said he will continue to listen to concerns from people from Hollis to Springfield Gardens at a meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. via Zoom.
To get a Zoom link to the meeting, call the district’s Office of Community Affairs at (718) 712-1627.
“Everyone is concerned about safety,” Towler said.