The gunman who allegedly killed 10 people and wounded three more inside a Buffalo supermarket Saturday had been flagged as “troubled” in his small hometown before mounting the apparently racially motivated attack, authorities said.
The 18-year-old shooter, who The Daily Wire is not naming in keeping with a policy of depriving mass shooters of undeserved notoriety, allegedly live-streamed the murder spree on Twitch. Authorities said the suspect, who allegedly drove some three-and-a-half hours from Broome County, New York, to the Tops Friendly Market because it is frequented by African Americans, was on the radar back home after allegedly threatening fellow high school students in June of 2021.
“A school official reported that this very troubled young man had made statements indicating that he wanted to do a shooting, either at a graduation ceremony, or sometime after,” a government official familiar with the case told The Buffalo News.
State Police investigated the incident last year and the suspect was referred for a mental health evaluation and counseling, the official said.
Pearly Young, 77, was killed today in #Buffalo shopping for groceries.
For 25 years she ran a pantry where every Saturday she fed people in Central Park. Every. Saturday.
She loved singing, dancing, & being with family.
She was mother, grandma, & missionary. Gone too soon 🕊 pic.twitter.com/dQ5X9KBJCQ
— Madison Carter (@madisonlcarter) May 15, 2022
Authorities said that the shooter arrived at Tops Friendly Market around 2:30 p.m. ET wearing tactical gear and armed with a rifle. He shot four people outside the grocery, three fatally, before entering. Once inside, the shooter was confronted by security guard and former Buffalo police officer Aaron Salter, 55, who was shot dead trying to stop the gunman. The shooter shot eight more people inside the store, six of whom died, authorities said. Police responded and took the suspect into custody.
“Today is a shock,” Salter’s son, Aaron Salter III, told The Daily Beast. “I’m pretty sure he saved some lives today. He’s a hero.”
Among the other dead victims were Ruth Whitfield, 86; Katherine Massey, and Pearly Young, 77. Others had not yet been identified, but reportedly include four store employees.
The suspect, who recorded the horrific spree with a camera mounted to his tactical helmet, was arraigned Saturday in Buffalo City Court on a first-degree murder charge and faces life in prison if convicted.
“I understand my charges,” he said at the initial court appearance.
Authorities suspect the shooting was racially motivated, in part because the suspect is white and 11 of his 13 victims are black. The barrel of the suspect’s gun bore “the N-word” spelled out in white paint, along with the numeral 14, according to The Buffalo News. A government official told the outlet the number refers to a 14-word statement that is popular with white supremacists.
“We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white people,” is the alleged statement, and is originally attributed to David Lane, onetime leader of a white supremacist terror group known as The Order, the official said.
The suspect was a student at SUNY Broome Community College, near Binghamton, but a school spokesperson told the Buffalo News he is no longer enrolled there.
A 180-page manifesto, purportedly written by the suspect and circulated on social media after the shooting spree, could not be authenticated. Its author identifies himself by the same name as the suspect and other details appear to match. The hate-filled manifesto is replete with racist claims and says its author was radicalized online.