“It was pure evil,” Erie County Sheriff John C. Garcia said at a Saturday news conference, calling the shooting a “racially motivated hate crime committed by someone from ‘outside our community’.
The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the shooting “as a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism,” according to a statement from U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.
He pleaded not guilty.
Here’s what we know about the suspect who fired.
He was wearing tactical gear
Authorities say when the suspect arrived at the store around 2:30 p.m. he was heavily armed, wearing tactical gear, a helmet and had a camera that was live streaming his actions.
The suspect used an assault weapon, Flynn said at the press conference.
In his press release, Flynn said the suspect shot four people outside the grocery store, three of them fatally. When he entered the store, he exchanged gunfire with an armed security guard, who authorities said was a retired Buffalo police officer. The security guard died of his injuries. The suspect shot eight other people in the store, six of whom died, the statement said.
He reportedly streamed live on Twitch
Popular live-streaming platform Twitch confirmed on Saturday that the shooting suspect used his platform to live-stream during the attack.
The company said it was “devastated” to learn of the shooting and added that the user “has been indefinitely suspended from our service, and we are taking all appropriate action, including monitoring any account reposting this content.”
CNN has obtained part of the live stream which shows the alleged shooter stopping at a Tops store.
The video is recorded from the perspective of the alleged gunman as he drives into the supermarket parking lot. The person is seen in the rear view mirror wearing a helmet and is heard saying, “I just gotta go”, before parking in front of the store.
In the video, store customers can be seen walking through the parking lot as the suspect arrives.
A Twitch spokesperson said the company removed the live stream less than two minutes after the violence began. The company did not immediately respond to follow-up questions about whether the suspect was actively shooting when the live stream was interrupted.
A so-called manifesto speaks of the “shrinking size” of the white population
Investigators were reviewing an alleged 180-page manifesto that was posted online as part of the shooting investigation Saturday, two federal law enforcement sources told CNN.
The manifesto, independently obtained by CNN shortly after the attack and before authorities released the suspect’s name, was allegedly written by a person claiming to be Payton Gendron confessing to the attack.
The author of the manifesto says he bought ammunition for a while but did not take planning for the attack seriously until January. The author also continues on his perceptions of the decreasing size of the white population and claims of ethnic and cultural replacement of whites.
Part of the document is written in the form of questions and answers.
The author of the manifesto credits the internet with most of his beliefs and describes himself as a fascist, white supremacist and anti-Semite.
He will likely face further charges.
Gendron was arraigned Saturday night before Buffalo District Court Chief Judge Craig Hannah on one count of first-degree murder, the district attorney’s press release said.
He pleaded not guilty, Hannah told CNN. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole, the statement said.
And there could be more charges to come, officials said.
“My office is working closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners on potential terrorism and hate crimes. This is an active investigation and additional charges may be filed.” , Flynn said in a statement.
Gendron is scheduled to return to court the morning of May 19 for a felony hearing, the statement said. He will remain in custody without bond, he added.
CNN’s Sharif Paget, Sabrina Shulman and Brian Stelter contributed to this report.