Residents of Buffalo, New York, gathered at vigils Sunday to mourn the 10 people killed a day earlier when a white supremacist wearing body armor and carrying an assault rifle opened fire on a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Of the 13 shoppers and store workers shot in the assault, 11 were Black. Among those killed was 72-year-old Kat Massey, who wrote to The Buffalo News last year in support of federal gun control laws.
Police arrested an 18-year-old suspect who reportedly live-streamed the massacre on the video streaming service Twitch. The site took the video down within minutes, but the footage continues to circulate among white supremacists online. The suspect left behind a racist manifesto that included a plan to target a mainly Black neighborhood. The manifesto heavily plagiarized a screed left behind by the white supremacist who killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019. The manifesto refers to the “Great Replacement,” a racist conspiracy theory promoted by far-right media figures including Tucker Carlson of Fox News and embraced by some Republicans, including New York Congressmember Elise Stefanik.
Prosecutors say the shooter purchased the Bushmaster XM-15 semiautomatic rifle used in the assault lawfully from a licensed gun dealer in his hometown of Conklin, New York, after he passed a background check. That’s despite the fact that the suspect previously threatened a mass shooting at his high school. He allegedly modified his rifle to use high-capacity magazines that are banned in New York state.
President Biden spoke from the White House Sunday as the nation mourned the attack.
President Joe Biden: “We’re still gathering the facts, but already the Justice Department has stated publicly that it is investigating the matter as a hate crime, racially motivated act of white supremacy and violent extremism. As they do, we must all work together to address the hate that remains a stain on the soul of America. Our hearts are heavy once again, but our resolve must never, ever waver.”
The White House says President Biden will visit Buffalo on Tuesday to meet with the families of victims.