Victims of the New York attack… Biden: Hearts grieve again

Residents of Buffalo, New York, gathered Sunday for vigils and church services to mourn 10 people who were shot dead by a white supremacist youth in an incident that one official described as “domestic terrorism.”

Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramalia told reporters that the 18-year-old suspect “scoured” the site, a grocery store in a predominantly black neighborhood, after police rushed to the site in response to emergency calls.

The shooter, Payton Gendron, was arrested at the scene, and police said he drove from his hometown of Conklin, more than 320 km away.

Attacker’s photo

On Sunday, Gramalia said, “The evidence we have uncovered so far indicates without any doubt that the crime is an absolute racial hate crime,” and it will be dealt with judicially as such, adding that the shooter found a machine gun and a sniper rifle in his car.

The I Ray district attorney’s office said Gendron was charged late Saturday with one count of first-degree murder and held without bail.

Police said the shooter was wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying an assault rifle, and broadcast the attack live, adding that among the 10 dead and the three wounded, 11 were black Americans.

On Sunday in Washington, US President Joe Biden condemned the crime while honoring police officers who died in the line of duty, and said, “We must work together to combat the hatred that remains a stain on America’s forehead.”

BUFFALO, NEW YORK - MAY 15: Guests attend an interfaith service at Macedonia Baptist Church held to mourn the Tops market…

While attending a mass for the victims of the New York attack

He said the shooter was “carrying weapons of war and his psyche was filled with hatred and killed ten innocent people in cold blood”.

“Hearts grieve again,” he added, “but our determination must never weaken.”

‘military execution’

A number of residents gathered outside the store for a vigil, while New York Governor Cathy Hawkell, the state’s attorney general, Letitia James, and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown gave speeches at the city’s True Bethel Baptist Church.

In an angry and sad tone, the speakers denounced the recent wave of racial violence and the availability of high-powered rifles in a scene that has become familiar across the United States.

BUFFALO, NEW YORK - MAY 15: New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a Buffalo native, attends an interfaith service at Macedonia…

New York governor attends mass for attack victims

The Buffalo native described the crime as a “military-style execution” and said the shooter was carrying an AR-15 offensive weapon, stressing that racial incitement “spreads like wildfire.”

She called on officials in both the Democratic and Republican parties to “make sure that these people return to their holes and their necessity.”

Speaking on ABC, Hokle described social media as “tools of this evil”, considering that they allowed racist topics to “spread like a virus.”

Critics called the attacker’s “manifesto” an “organised fascist hate” linked to the far right.

The attack revived memories of some of the worst racist attacks in modern US history, including the 2015 killing of nine worshipers in a black church in South Carolina by a white man, and the 2019 attack of a white man in Texas that killed 23 people, mostly of South American origin.

Black Attorney General Letitia James described Saturday’s attack as “clear and simple domestic terrorism” and said the shooter would be prosecuted “to the fullest extent of the law.”

Speaking on CNN Sunday, Mayor Byron Brown blamed “Washington lawmakers” who he said “failed to take action” to control the proliferation of firearms.

The attack targeted shoppers in a store frequented by blacks

The attack targeted shoppers in a store frequented by black Americans

“The message to this country is that the mass shootings must end. There must be tangible control of the guns,” Brown added, angrily. “Enough is enough.”

The gunman shot four people in the parking lot of the store, killing three of them before entering the store.

Among the dead inside was a retired policeman who worked as a security guard, and police said he fired several shots at the attacker before he was wounded.

Prosecutor James said: “I hugged a young woman who was working at Tops, she was afraid she was going to die and she witnessed the bloodshed and was shivering in my arms in the morning.”

When the police arrived, the shooter pointed the gun at his neck, but he was spoken to and persuaded to surrender.

The victims are ordinary shoppers and store workers.

One of the victims, according to a post on Twitter, was a 77-year-old “mother, grandmother and missionary” who “loves to sing, dance and be with the family” and for 25 years has been running a weekly table to feed the poor.

At Sunday mass at Elme Christian Church in Buffalo, Reverend Anthony Brunner urged prayer and political action.

“Some of us are very angry this morning, but we respond with prayer and we respond by standing,” he said.

hate crime

“We are investigating this incident as a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism,” Stephen Bilongia, an FBI police officer in Buffalo, said during a news conference.

American media also spoke of a 180-page “statement” of a racist nature that was posted on the Internet detailing a plan to target predominantly black residential neighborhoods.

And the social network “Twitch” said that the shooter broadcast the attack live, and that it cut it off “two minutes” after it began broadcasting, and the attacker’s account was “suspended permanently,” noting that “all accounts that are likely to republish this content are subject to censorship.”

The New York Times, citing this “statement”, stated that the suspect was “inspired” by his crimes committed by white supremacist extremists, including the 2019 massacre of 51 worshipers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The local daily The Buffalo News, quoting a local official, reported that a semi-automatic weapon used in Saturday’s shooting also had a racist label written on its barrel.

The Buffalo News, citing a local official, reported that the word derogatory, racist, and prohibited in the United States to describe blacks, was written in white on the weapon.

In a video speech broadcast at True Bethel Baptist Church, New York Senator Charles Schumer described racism as “America’s poison,” and said, “We must confront the scourge of gun violence and finally ban weapons of war on our streets.”

But in the face of a powerful pro-gun lobby, previous efforts by the US Congress to toughen the nation’s gun laws have generally failed, even after so many horrific shootings.

And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed in its latest data that the United States recorded 19,350 murders with a firearm in 2020, an increase of nearly 35 percent compared to 2019.

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