A gunman sporting a rifle and body armour opened fire in a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., killing at least 10 people before being taken into custody Saturday afternoon, law enforcement officials told The Associated Press.
Details on the number of additional people shot at the Tops Friendly Market and their conditions weren’t immediately available. The two officials were not permitted to speak publicly on the matter and did so on the condition of anonymity.
Investigators believe the suspect may have been livestreaming the shooting and were looking into whether he had posted a manifesto online, the official said. The official cautioned the investigation was in its preliminary stages and that authorities hadn’t yet discerned a clear motive, but were investigating whether the shooting was racially motivated.
The supermarket is in a predominately Black neighbourhood, about five kilometres 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 in custody in a tweet, but did not identify the suspect. Police officials and a spokesperson for the supermarket chain did not immediately respond to messages from the AP seeking comment.
Witnesses reported the gunman was wearing military-style clothing and body armour, one of the officials said.
Braedyn Kephart and Shane Hill, both 20, pulled into the parking lot just as the shooter was exiting. They described him as a white male in his late teens or early 20s sporting full camouflage, 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 heck is going on? Why does this kid have a gun to his face?” Kephart said. He dropped to his knees. “He ripped off his helmet, dropped his gun, and was tackled by the police.”
Police closed off the block, lined by spectators, and yellow police tape surrounded the full parking lot. Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz were at the scene late Saturday afternoon, gathered in a parking lot across the street from the Tops store and expected to address the media.
BREAKING: BPD on scene of a mass shooting at the Tops in the 1200 block of Jefferson Avenue. Police say multiple people have been struck by gunfire. The shooter is in custody. Motorists and residents are urged to avoid the area.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul tweeted that she was “closely monitoring the shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo,” her hometown. She said state 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 spokesperson Anthony Coley said.
The shooting came little more than a year after a March 2021 attack at a King Soopers grocery in Boulder, Colo., that killed 10 people. Investigators have not released any information about why they believe the man charged in that attack targeted the supermarket.