According to media reports, a few hours after the shots in the US city of Buffalo killed ten, the alleged shooter was charged with first-degree murder on Saturday evening (local time). Videos and photos showed the 18-year-old wearing a thin white shirt and a face mask sitting before Judge Craig Hannah in the Buffalo, east coast New York state court.
The investigators assume a hate crime by the white man: the majority of the 13 victims – in addition to the 10 dead, 3 people were injured – were black. New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul described the fatal shooting as terrorism. “We are investigating this incident as both a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism,” an FBI investigator said Saturday.
The FBI defines hate crimes primarily as those in which the perpetrator attacks victims based on race, race, or religion. The investigators also examined an ideological manifesto by the alleged perpetrator that had appeared on the Internet, in which he expressed racist ideas that may have motivated his crime.
The 18-year-old pleaded not guilty in court. When asked by Judge Hannah if he understood the charges, he replied, “I understand my charges,” according to The Buffalo News and other media outlets.
He was reportedly denied bail. If the 18-year-old is convicted, he faces life imprisonment with no chance of pardon, it said.
Mayor Brown said the young man wasn’t from Buffalo. “The shooter traveled hours from outside of this community to commit this crime against the people of Buffalo.” The incident happened as of 2:30 p.m. local time after the heavily armed perpetrator got out of his car several kilometers north of downtown Buffalo. He opened fire on several people in the supermarket parking lot and then entered the store, where he finally surrendered to the police.
According to police chief Joseph Gramaglia, he had a camera with him and wore a helmet – and streamed the crime live on a social network. There is “certain evidence” that points to a racist act, it said on the investigation status. According to initial findings, the shooter acted alone. The supermarket is located in an area that is mostly inhabited by black people. “Why does a white man come here and shoot in a black supermarket,” a local resident said on local television.
The shocking crime struck Buffalo, in east New York, on a warm spring day when people enjoyed the sunshine and fun activities like barbecues, Mayor Brown said. “What started out as a beautiful day in the city of Buffalo has turned into a terrible day. A day that breaks the heart of every member of our community.”
Describing the scene of the crime in The Buffalo News, one police officer said, “It’s like walking into a horror movie, but it’s all real.” The newspaper also quoted a supermarket employee who said he had gone into the cold room shortly before the incident. “I hid myself. I just hid. I didn’t want to leave the room,” he said.
The host of the local TV station WKBW said, visibly shocked, that her husband had visited the supermarket about an hour before the crime. According to the police, the alleged perpetrator walked the aisles in the supermarket and shot his victims in the head. A security guard shot the 18-year-old, but the bullets got stuck in his bulletproof vest. The guard was then killed by him.
Racism by right-wing extremists has been perceived by many people in the USA as a growing and dangerous problem, and not just since the “Black Lives Matter” movement. The anti-racism organization Anti-Defamation League (ADL) sees right-wing extremism on the rise in the USA. The ADL writes that “white supremacists” assumed that whites were in danger of becoming extinct. They believed that almost all actions that help “save” whites are justified.
Fatal incidents involving firearms, shootings or acts in which a person opens fire in schools, supermarkets or other public facilities are a frequent occurrence in the United States. More than 40,000 people die from firearms in the United States every year – many times more than in Germany or other industrialized countries.
In addition to the sometimes very lax rules for procuring heavy automatic rifles, this is due to a flourishing black market, which the government in Washington has so far tried to combat with little success. The Buffalo crime is the most serious crime by a gunman in the United States in over a year. In the summer of 2019, a racially motivated perpetrator killed more than 20 people in a supermarket in El Paso, Texas.
US President Joe Biden was shocked by the crime and described it as “terrible”. “The President and First Lady are praying for the victims and their families,” said the White House on Saturday evening (local time). Biden was informed of the crime by his homeland security adviser and will continue to be kept up to date.