BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) – The US Department of Justice is investigating Saturday’s mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket as a hate crime and a racially motivated act of violent extremism.
The gunman was identified during his arraignment as Payton S. Gendron of Conklin, New York. That name matches the name given in a 180-page manifesto that appeared online shortly after the attack and claimed violence in the name of white supremacy.
Law enforcement and government officials did not confirm the validity of the document in the hours immediately following the attack. However, the excruciating detail provided leaves little doubt as to its authenticity. A top federal law enforcement official told the New York Times that they believed Gendron had published the document.
“There is certain evidence that we have determined in the course of this investigation that indicates some racial animosity,” Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said. “I’m not going to talk specifically or elaborate on what exactly they are at this time.”
The document, which has been reviewed by News 4, traced the attack in grotesque detail. The writer charted his actions to the minute, included diagrams of his path through the store, and said he specifically targeted the Tops Markets location on Jefferson Avenue because its zip code has the highest percentage of black people close enough to where it lives.
“This was pure evil,” said Erie County Sheriff John Garcia. “A directly racially motivated hate crime.”
Alexander Rosemberg, regional deputy director of the Anti-Defamation League, says the organization is still analyzing the full document, but can already draw some conclusions.
“Very anti-Semitic, very racist against people of color, white supremacist, radicalized in every way we can think of,” Resemberg told News 4. “I want to repeat 180 pages of this.”
Gendron livestreamed the attack on the social media platform Twitch and had the N-word written on his rifle, videos from the scene showed. He was charged with first degree murder after killing 10 people and injuring three others.
The alleged manifesto admits to planning the attack passively for the past few years and in earnest since January. He laments an alleged “white genocide” taking place in America and proudly boasts of the writer’s racist and anti-Semitic views.
In a question-and-answer session with himself, the writer says he supports “those who want a future for white children and the existence of our people.”
“That’s what white supremacist terrorism is all about, that’s what we’re witnessing here today,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul said. “It has to end here. That is our message. We will continue to work at the federal, state, and local levels with our community partners to identify these messages as soon as they emerge on social media. That is our best defense right now, as well as the legal system and the prosecution. And I sincerely hope that this individual, this white supremacist who has just perpetrated a hate crime against an innocent community, spends the rest of his days behind bars. and heaven help him in the next world too.“
One of the victims in the attack was identified as Aaron Salter, a retired Buffalo police officer who worked as a security guard at Tops. Authorities said Salter tried to stop the attack and shot Gendron in the chest, but he was unharmed because he was wearing tactical armor.
The alleged manifesto goes on for numerous pages about the type of equipment that was specifically chosen for the attack, from his helmet and gun to his underwear. Chart your breakfast, arrival time, live stream and getaway.
The writer says that he will plead guilty at trial if he survives the rampage.
Gendron said just four words in court on Saturday before he was led away: “I understand my charges.”
The latest on mass shooting at Buffalo supermarket
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Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a digital executive producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook and Twitter and find more of his work here.