New York City has gone on high alert in the wake of the racially motivated shooting in Buffalo with the NYPD reportedly deploying officers to black places of worship across the city as a precautionary measure Saturday evening.
'Nypd deploying extra units across city including houses of worship/Black churches as a precaution,' WNBC reporter Jonathan Dienst tweeted Saturday.
He shared the plan roughly six hours after a suspected white supremacist gunned down 10 and wounded three in a Tops supermarket, sending shockwaves throughout the country.
The racist “great replacement theory” allegedly espoused by the suspect in Saturday’s Buffalo supermarket shooting has long been a talking point for Fox News anchors and other pundits. https://t.co/rGB5wCQAqV— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) May 15, 2022
Cops say 11 of those shot were black, with black former cop Aaron Salter Jr the first of the victims to be named.
The gunman, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, was arrested shortly after the killing spree.
He was arraigned on a single count of first-degree murder Saturday night, with more charges likely to follow.
Cops say the teen drove more than three hours from his hometown of Conklin to Buffalo to engage in the shooting, which he livestreamed on Twitch.
Video of the assault was quickly scrubbed from the livestreaming site, within just two minutes of its posting.
Police described the incident Saturday - which saw Gendron, equipped with two assault rifles, don military garb and storm the supermarket - as a 'heavily armed' attack.
'He exited his vehicle. He was very heavily armed. He had tactical gear. He had a tactical helmet on. He had a camera that he was livestreaming what he was doing,' city Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said at a news conference.
Gendron shot four people outside the store, three of whom died, the commissioner said. He then went into the supermarket where he exchanged gunfire with a security guard - a former Buffalo police officer. The ex-cop shot at the gunman multiple times cops said, but the bullets hit the shooter's body arm and left him unfazed.
Gendron then killed the guard, identified as Aaron Salter Jr.
A further six victims are believed to have been shot dead inside.
Cops said Gendron scrawled the n-word on his rifle before carrying out the murders. The teen pleaded not guilty to one count of first degree murder stemming from the massacre Saturday. It is not yet clear which of the murders the charge refers to. He will likely face more charges in the coming hours.
Gendron, who was barefoot, masked, and wearing a paper smock in court Saturday, lived in the small town of Conklin with his dad Paul and mother Pamela prior to the murder, both of whom are engineers for the New York transit department.
Neighbors in the rural town - which has a population of just over 5,000 - told DailyMail.com that the Gendrons are an unassuming family, and that news of Payton's killings had shocked them to the core.
Salter Jr, the first and only victim named in the attack, has been hailed as a hero after exchanging gunfire with Gendron inside the crowded market.
Following the premeditated strike, New York Governor Kathy Hochul blasted the killings as 'demented' and called for a crackdown on social media firms like Twitch, who she said effectively acted as an 'accomplice' by glorifying Gendron's crimes - which echoed the assault on the mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019.
The attack saw then 29-year-old Brenton Tarrant - who also donned military fatigues and livestream his assault - kill 51 Muslim worshippers. A manifesto written by Tarrant subsequently revealed that the attack had been racially motivated.
Shoppers out on a weekend afternoon and a retired police officer working as a security guard were among 10 people shot and killed at a Buffalo supermarket on Saturday. Authorities arrested a white 18-year-old man they say was motivated by racial hatred. https://t.co/z2aYOSdKy0— The Associated Press (@AP) May 15, 2022
President Joe Biden is keeping close track of the developments in the tragedy, according to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
'The president has been briefed by his Homeland Security advisor on the horrific shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., this afternoon. He will continue to receive updates throughout the evening and tomorrow as further information develops,' she said, adding the president and first lady were praying for the victims and their loved ones.
The Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said of Gendron's massacre: 'This was pure evil, it was straight up a racially motivated hate crime.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.