US: 18-year-old white supremacist guns down 10 in Buffalo supermarket

The gunman wore body armour and military-style clothing during the attack on mostly Black shoppers and workers at Tops Friendly Market

FPJ Bureau | Updated on: Sunday, May 15, 2022, 11:28 PM IST

Buffalo Police on scene at a Tops Friendly Market on May 14, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. | AFP
Buffalo Police on scene at a Tops Friendly Market on May 14, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. | AFP

A white 18-year-old supremacist in military gear with a helmet camera opened fire with a rifle at a supermarket in Buffalo, killing 10 people and wounding three others in what authorities described as "racially-motivated violent extremism".

In a chilling 180-page manifesto, written prior to the attack, he said he was driven to kill by the ‘great replacement theory’ which claims white people are being driven to extinction by migrants. He branded the London mayor Sajid Khan as a 'high profile enemy' and one such 'Muslim invader'. ‘‘This Pakistani Muslim invader now sits as representative of the people of London. What better sign of the white rebirth than the removal of this invader?’’ says the twisted manifesto. Among others on his ‘hit’ list was Turkish leader Recep Erdoğan.

The youth had the N-word scrawled on his rifle, targeted a store in a predominantly black area and shot 11 black people, police said. For at least two minutes, he broadcast the shooting live on the streaming platform Twitch before the service ended his transmission.

Among the victims was a retired cop turned store security guard and an 86 year-old grandmother. Survivors recounted how they fled to the supermarket's freezer in terror.

The assailant, identified as Payton Gentron, was investigated by the New York State Police for threatening to shoot his classmates during graduation in June 2021. Following the episode, he was given psychiatric treatment, but he still legally bought three guns. Classmates reveal he acted strangely, wore hazmat suit to school for a week and scared them with 'Hitler-esque' political views.

Another classmate recalled that he was definitely into video games - shooter games.

Police said he surrendered after the shooting; later, he appeared before a judge in a paper medical gown and was arraigned on murder charges.

"It is my sincere hope that this individual, this white supremacist who just perpetrated a hate crime on an innocent community, will spend the rest of his days behind bars. And heaven help him in the next world as well," said Governor Kathy Hochul, speaking near the scene of the attack.

Police entered the store and confronted the gunman in the vestibule. "At that point the suspect put the gun to his own neck," the commissioner said. Two officers talked him into dropping the gun, he added.

In photos posted by his mother on Facebook, Payton appears to tower over his father and others. 'He was 6'1' or 6'2',' his schoolmate said. 'He was a big guy.' The family appears to be a tight-knit suburban family that played together, went to the beach and dined together in restaurants.

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Published on: Sunday, May 15, 2022, 11:28 PM IST