Friday, June 9

LIVE UPDATE : Buffalo shooting suspect did a high school project on murder-suicides

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The Buffalo shooting suspect was visited last year by New York State Police after he turned in a high school project about murder-suicides, Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said.

A judge on Saturday ordered the suspect to undergo a mental health evaluation.

Speaking to CNN’s Victor Blackwell on Monday, Garcia said, “Obviously somebody that commits a crime so horrific — 10 people dead, three others injured — and with his manifesto, with his hatred, his hatred at the age of 18 towards Black people.” “This was a straight-up hate crime. Pure evil,” he said.  

Garcia said the suspect’s alleged mental health issues “were brought to light” last year when he did a high school post-graduation project about murder-suicide. 

“The state police arrived at his house at that point last year,” Garcia said. “He stayed at a facility, I’m not sure if it was a hospital or a mental health facility, for a day and a half.” 

“Where were the red flags for him to be able to purchase these guns legally?” Garcia asked. “But in a case like this, the gun dealer was able to sell these weapons to this individual because there was no red flags that came up.”

The Susquehanna Valley Central School District in Conklin, New York, on Monday said the suspect made an “ominous” reference to murder-suicide through a virtual learning platform June 2021 while attending Susquehanna Valley High School.

Though the threat was not specific – and did not involve any other students — the instructor immediately informed an administrator who escalated the matter to New York State Police, a spokesperson told CNN. 

“The state police arrived at his house at that point last year,” Erie County Sheriff John Garcia told CNN Monday. “He stayed at a facility, I’m not sure if it was a hospital or a mental health facility, for a day and a half.” 

Beau Duffy, a spokesperson for the New York State Police, said that “troopers transported the student to the hospital for a mental health evaluation.” Duffy added that it was not an involuntary commitment that would have precluded the suspect from purchasing a weapon.

The school spokesperson said they are limited in what we can share about the alleged shooter due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. 52 min ago

Buffalo shooting victim was a beloved grandmother of 6 and breast cancer survivor

Celestine Chaney.
Celestine Chaney. (Family handout)

Celestine Chaney, 65, a grandmother to six children, was one of the most loving and caring people with a genuine spirit and above all, a fighter, her grandson, Wayne Jones Jr., told CNN.

Jones, 27, had planned to surprise his grandmother Sunday with flowers, perfume, a meal and some quality time together since he had to work on Mother’s Day.

“That’s the most devastating part about it,” he said. “I just wanted to do something real nice for her because I can, so I took this extra hard … that had been my plan all week.”

Chaney beat breast cancer a few years ago and battled brain tumors when Jones was younger, he said, adding that she always fought her way through her health complications.

“The whole family is devastated,” he said. “And it’s just a shock … you never expect something like this to happen to you … you just pray for everybody else with the trauma that they went through and now you’re living in it.”

Jones said his grandmother played a pivotal role in his and his siblings’ upbringing.

There was “never a dull moment” when she was around, he said, adding that she was always laughing.

“Your world is just shaken up,” Jones said, “And it’s just hard to get back to reality because the reality of it is my grandmother just passed and others lost their lives over nonsense, over nothing, basically because of the color of their skin.”

Social media platforms struggle to stop the spread of Buffalo shooting suspect’s racist statement and video  

In the wake of Saturday’s mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, Big Tech platforms are struggling to stop the spread of a video of the attack filmed by the suspect and a document allegedly also produced by him where he outlines his beliefs. 

Platforms have tried to improve how they respond to the sharing of this kind of content since the mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019, which was also streamed live online.In the 24 hours after that attack, Facebook said it removed 1.5 million copies of the video.

Part of the challenge facing platforms now is what appears to be users posting a deluge of copies of the Buffalo video and document. 

The attack was streamed live on Twitch, a video streaming service owned by Amazon that is particularly popular with gamers. Twitch said it removed the video two minutes after the violence started, but the video had already been downloaded by other users. 

The video has since been shared across major social media platforms and also posted to more obscure video hosting sites. 

Spokespersons for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Reddit all told CNN that they had banned the sharing of the video on their sites and are working to identify and remove copies of it. But the companies appear to be struggling to contain the spread. 

CNN observed a link to a copy of the video circulating on Facebook on Sunday night. Facebook included a warning that the link violated its community standards but still allowed users to click through and watch the video. 

The Washington Post reported a link to another copy of the video had been shared 46,000 times on Facebook before it was removed. 

That video was hosted on a less well-known video service called Streamable and was only removed after it had reportedly been viewed more than 3 million times.  

A spokesperson for Streamable told CNN the company was “working diligently” to remove copies of the video “expeditiously.” The spokesperson did not respond when asked how one video had reached millions of views before it was removed.  

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, on Saturday designated the event as a “terrorist attack,” which triggered the company’s internal teams to identify and remove the account of the suspect, as well as to begin removing copies of the video and document and links to them on other sites, according to a company spokesperson. 

The company added the video and document to an internal database that helps automatically detect and remove copies if they are reuploaded. Meta has also banned content that praises or supports the attacker, the spokesperson said. 

Buffalo mayor says retired police officer who confronted gunman “is a hero”

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said it was fortunate that retired police lieutenant and shooting victim, Aaron Salter, was in Tops Friendly Market during the shooting.

The mayor said he believes Salter’s encounter with the suspect slowed him down and reduced the loss of life.“Aaron Salter is a hero,” the mayor said.

He also credits the rapid response from Buffalo Police to the scene.

“Many more people would probably have been killed and injured if the Buffalo Police did not get to the scene as quickly. They were able to subdue the gunman, they were able to take him into custody without incident, and protect the surrounding neighborhood,” Brown said.

More on the shooting: The man accused of killing 10 people in a racially motivated mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket Saturday had plans to continue his shooting rampage and kill more Black people, authorities said Monday.

The revelations align with information written in an 180-page racist document authorities have attributed to the suspect, an 18-year-old White man who traveled nearly 200 miles to a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood to unleash an attack.

Eleven of the 13 people shot were Black, officials said, and the massacre is being investigated as a hate crime.

CNN’s Travis Caldwell and Victor Blackwell contributed reporting to this post.

Buffalo mayor spoke to FBI director about the shooting investigation

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told CNN that he spoke to FBI Director Christopher Wray about the investigation into Saturday’s mass shooting at Tops Friendly Market.

He said Wray vowed that “every resource available to the FBI would be brought to bear on this situation — this horrific shooting in Buffalo, New York — to get to the bottom of what this person did, why they did it, where they came from, how they got the weapons that they got.”

The mayor said it is “absolutely incredible” that “someone with so much hate in their heart, so much hate in their head, traveled from more than three hours to get to this community, a community densely populated with African American residents with the express purpose of trying to take as many Black lives as possible.” 

“These motives of this individual were based on hate, based on a hatred of many types of people,” Brown said. “It is believed that he had a hatred for Black people, Jewish people, people of color.”

“That kind of indoctrination is a frightening thing,” Brown added. “To know there are people like that in our country whose hearts are so full of hate, so cold that they would do this to fellow human beings, fellow Americans, it is just absolutely incredible.”

Shooting victim visited supermarket to buy snacks for weekly movie night with wife

Margus Morrison.
Margus Morrison. (Family handout)

Margus Morrison, 52, went to Tops Friendly Market to buy snacks for a weekly movie night he had with his wife when he was fatally shot there on Saturday, according to his stepdaughter Sandra Demps.

Demps described Morrison as a “hero” to the family who took on a lot of responsibilities and helped provide for her mother who is disabled.

Morrison had worked as a school bus aide in the Buffalo area for the past three years, Demps said.

“He worked with kids. Kids loved him on the bus. He loved the kids. It’s a very big loss to the community,” she told CNN.

Demps said Morrison also enjoyed music, collecting sneakers and will be remembered for his love, kindness and humor.

Morrison is survived by his wife, three children and stepdaughter.

Buffalo shooting victim remembered by her brother as someone who enjoyed helping her family

Roberta Drury.
Roberta Drury. (Family handout)

Roberta Drury, 32, was shopping for groceries at the Tops Friendly Markets when she was killed Saturday at the store, her brother Christopher Moyer told CNN.

Drury moved to Buffalo around eight years ago and dedicated her time to helping her brother with his leukemia treatment and assisting her family with running their restaurant, The Dalmatia Hotel, Moyer told CNN.

“She enjoyed helping us with the restaurant, and because she lived so close to me, she was able to help with babysitting,” Moyer said. “She will definitely be missed.” 

Moyer remembers his sister as a very happy person who had a good heart, enjoyed going to events with her family and always wanted to do the right thing. 

Moyer first realized something was wrong when Drury’s friends expressed their concern for his sister after she failed to return from the supermarket.

“Her friend was concerned because she went to the store and didn’t come back. At first I saw the news report and I thought maybe she just hung around the area to see what was going on but after a while I knew something was wrong,” he said.

Niece of woman killed in Buffalo shooting describes her as “life of the party”

Geraldine Talley.
Geraldine Talley. (Family handout)

Geraldine Talley, 62, was doing her regular grocery shopping with her fiancé on Saturday when she was shot and killed at the Tops Friendly Markets store in Buffalo, New York, her niece Lakesha Chapman told CNN.

Chapman called Talley her “Auntie Gerri” and said she was an amazing woman. She said Talley was her dad’s baby sister.

“She’s sweet, sweet, you know, the life of the party,” Chapman said. “She was the person who always put our family reunion together, she was an avid baker … mother of two beautiful children.”

“She was just a lover. I mean she didn’t meet a stranger and that’s why this hurts so much,” Chapman said.

Chapman lives in Atlanta and had just arrived in Buffalo to be with family on Sunday when she talked to CNN by telephone.

She said Talley was at the front of the store when the shooting started and her fiancé had gone to get orange juice, so he was able to escape unharmed.

Chapman said it was about five hours before her family found out she had been killed.

“We’re outraged,” Chapman said. “This is not, obviously, the first racially-triggered attack in America. However it is the first that hits our home.”

She said it was “the most numbing, numbing feeling ever.”

“She was shopping and this this, this man comes out of his neighborhood to attack because of her skin color because of her zip code, you know, because it was predominantly Black,” Chapman said. “She was innocent. And it’s, there’s no words to describe it.”

Buffalo shooting victim took pride in helping people, his nephew says

Heyward Patterson.
Heyward Patterson. (Family handout)

Heyward Patterson, 67, was a taxi driver and was waiting outside of the Tops Friendly Markets store for passengers when he was gunned down in the parking lot, according to the victim’s nephew Terrell Clark.

Clark told CNN his uncle was known as the neighborhood taxi and would offer a ride to anyone who needed a ride. 

“He took pride in helping people and if the person had little or no money he would still give them a ride. He had a big heart,” Clark said about his uncle.

Clark remembers his uncle as a very happy man who always had a smile on his face, told jokes, enjoyed singing at his church and “dressed to impress.”

Clark said he messaged and called his uncle when he heard of the shooting but knew something was wrong when he didn’t receive a response. 

“He didn’t reply from there I knew something was wrong. He never ignores my calls. I can’t believe this happened. My heart is broken into a million pieces,” Clark said.

Patterson is survived by three children, Clark told CNN.

Erie County district attorney says shooting suspect was intent on leaving market to kill more Black people

A crowd gathers as police investigate the shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo on Saturday.

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn told CNN it appears the Buffalo shooting suspect was intent on leaving the supermarket location to kill more Black people.

When asked by CNN’s John Berman about evidence that the gunman allegedly had some plan to kill more Black people after leaving the supermarket, Flynn said “it appears that way,” adding “we need to drill down further.”

Investigators are combing through evidence, including the home he lived in with his parents, the car he was using, evidence at the crime scene, and his social media, Flynn said. “We’re drilling down” on all of that, the district attorney said.

Authorities are also looking into everyone he was associated with before he drove to Buffalo and references in his diatribe.

Flynn said he is in “grand jury mode.” He said that once the felony hearing happens on Thursday, he has 45 days to get the case against the suspect indicted. “This is going to move rather quickly,” he told CNN’s Berman.

Flynn said investigators are looking at whether the weapon used was modified.

Shooting suspect remains on suicide watch and under constant supervision, Buffalo sheriff says 

Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said the Buffalo shooting suspect is likely the “most highly visible incarcerated individual in this nation right now.”

Speaking to CNN’s Victor Blackwell on Monday, Garcia said the suspect is under constant supervision.

The shooting suspect remains on suicide watch.

“We have an Erie County sheriff’s jail deputy watching him at all times,” he said. “We also have video cameras in his cell and he’s in a unit with no commingling with other incarcerated individuals.”

The shooting suspect has met with his legal team, Garcia said, adding that the sheriff’s office is making sure that “justice is served and he has legal representation like everybody deserves. In this country we’re innocent until proven guilty, so we are making sure that they spend as much time as needed.”

Garcia said there have been no family requests to visit the shooter while in custody.

Alleged diatribe shows in chilling detail meticulous planning behind attack

A 180-page diatribe attributed to Payton Gendron and posted online just before he allegedly shot 13 people at a Buffalo supermarket, killing 10, shows in chilling detail the meticulous planning that apparently went into the racist massacre. 

Alongside tirades about his false belief that White Americans were being “replaced” by people of other races, the 18-year-old suspect allegedly included in the writing a hand-drawn map of the store he targeted, a minute-by-minute plan of the deadly attack, and pages upon pages listing the equipment and clothing he planned to wear – from military-style body armor down to the brand of his underwear.

CNN independently obtained the document shortly after the mass shooting and before authorities released the name of the suspect. Law enforcement sources have told CNN that the writing’s description of guns matches the weapons that the suspect used, and Gov. Kathy Hochul and other authorities have referred to the document in press conferences and interviews as clear evidence that the attack was racially motivated.  

“This manifesto tells everything to us, and that is what is so bone-chilling about it,” Hochul told CNN on Sunday. 

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn told CNN that “we are obviously going through [the document] with a fine-toothed comb and reviewing that for all evidence.”

Gendron, who was charged with first-degree murder on Saturday and pleaded not guilty, is from Conklin, New York, a small Southern Tier town near Binghamton, according to police and other authorities. He studied at SUNY Broome this school year but has not been enrolled there since March 22, a spokesperson for the college said. 

In the document, the author identified himself as Gendron and wrote that he had been “serious” about the Buffalo attack since January, practicing and training for it, but had been “buying ammo, surplus military gear and shooting irregularly” for years before.

The suspect allegedly chose to attack the Tops Friendly Markets store in Buffalo because it was in a majority-Black zip code within driving distance of where he lived, and researched what time it would be busiest, according to the diatribe.

The document included a minute-by-minute outline of the suspect’s plan, and the author drew a color-coded map of the interior of the store, laying out how he planned to “shoot all black people.” It’s unclear how closely the gunman’s attack followed the plan listed in the diatribe. 

Gendron also allegedly wrote that he planned to livestream a video of the attack on the online platform Twitch. Twitch said in a statement to CNN that the video was removed less than two minutes after the violence began. 

The document states that the suspect bought the main gun he used, a Bushmaster XM-15, from a gun store in Endicott, New York, Vintage Firearms, before “illegally modifying it.”

Vintage Firearms did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment, but the store’s owner, Robert Donald, told the New York Times that Gendron passed a background check before he bought the gun and he didn’t stick out among his other customers.

In the diatribe, Gendron allegedly details how he had been radicalized by reading online message boards, while describing the attack as terrorism and himself as a White supremacist. He wrote that he had “moved farther to the right” politically over the last three years. 

The suspect started browsing the message board 4chan – a hotbed for racist, sexist and White nationalist content – in May 2020 “after extreme boredom” during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the diatribe. Posts he had read on the site made him believe that “the White race is dying out,” among other racist beliefs, and led him down a rabbit hole to other extremist websites, the document states. 

The conspiracy theory of a “great replacement” has been a motivator of other violent attacks, experts in extremism have said. Some forms of the theory have more recently gone mainstream in conservative news outlets and politicians.

One day while browsing 4chan, Gendron saw a video clip of the gunman who killed 51 people in New Zealand at two mosques in 2019, according to the diatribe. That livestream “started everything you see here,” the document states.

In addition to the New Zealand massacre, Gendron was allegedly inspired by other racist mass shooters including the gunman who killed nine Black people at a Charleston, South Carolina, church in 2015, and the assailant who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011, according to the diatribe. The document includes dozens of pages of racist and anti-Semitic screeds – including some language that appears to be copied from the New Zealand shooter’s own writings.

Tops Markets working with community to assist with grocery needs after shooting

Flowers are left at a makeshift memorial outside of Tops market on May 15, 2022 in Buffalo, New York.

Tops Markets is providing free transportation to members of the Buffalo community affected by Saturday’s fatal shooting so that they are able “to ensure our neighbors are able to meet their grocery and pharmacy needs,” according to an update on Twitter from the grocery chain.

“While the Tops location at Jefferson Avenue will remain closed until further notice, we are steadfast in our commitment to serving every corner of our community as we have for the past 60 years,” the statement reads. “Knowing the importance of this location and serving families on the east side of the city, we have taken immediate steps to ensure our neighbors are able to meet their grocery and pharmacy needs by providing free bus shuttle service starting today.”

Tops Market said it is working closely with a representative of Masten District in securing free food and supplies to community members affected by Saturday’s shooting.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown emphasized the importance of the Tops Market located on Jefferson Avenue in a news conference Saturday saying that this particular supermarket location is “near and dear” to his heart.

“It’s one that I patronize from time to time,” the mayor said. “My family patronizes from time to time and some of the victims of this shooter’s attack are people that all of us standing up here know.

More on the supermarket: Brown announced the construction of the Tops Market on Jefferson Ave in his 2016 State of the City Address. On Saturday he said that he had worked hard to bring the supermarket chain to that particular community. The Buffalo mayor was a major advocate in transforming that community with funding secured from city, state and federal resources to create housing opportunities for mixed-income families while also serving individuals with developmental disabilities, according to a statement released from his office in 2016.

“The site of the shooting was located in a so-called “food desert” and served as the lone supermarket within walking distance for many Buffalonians,” a statement from New York Governor Hochul reads.

Hochul announced a partnership with rideshare services Uber and Lyft to provide rides to and from local grocery stores for affected community members.

Buffalo shooting suspect was in town on Friday, police commissioner says

Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said the alleged shooting suspect was in town on Friday – the day before the shooting.

Speaking to CNN on Monday, Gramaglia said, “He was in town Friday. We have him through our license plate reader technology.” 

Additionally, he said officials have gotten video from several other stores and locations the suspect was at. Federal investigators have gotten warrants and have spoken to people who saw the suspect on Friday. 

“Our homicide detectives have interviewed numerous people, as has the FBI,” Gramaglia said. “I’m not going to get into what those statements were and what those interviews contained. But we have spoken to people that have stated to us that they spoke with the suspect.”

Officials continue to nail down his whereabouts in the days before the shooting.

“We’re looking into phones, the live streaming camera, GPS, location, and anything else, social media, that we’ll find out what his exact trail was,” the commissioner said. 

“To this point, we don’t have them earlier, that I’m aware of, but we’re going to continue to look at that,” Gramaglia said, adding that it’s all part of the investigation.

10 people were killed in the Buffalo mass shooting. Here are their names.

Thirteen people were shot — 10 fatally — at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket Saturday in a massacre authorities believe was racially motivated.

Eleven of the victims were Black and two were White, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Saturday.The victims range in age from 20 to 86, police said. Among them were a former police officer who tried to stop the gunman, the octogenarian mother of the city’s former fire commissioner and a long-term substitute teacher.

Buffalo police identified all of the victims late Sunday. Here are the victims’ names:

  • Roberta A. Drury, 32, of Buffalo
  • Margus D. Morrison, 52, of Buffalo
  • Andre Mackneil, 53, of Auburn
  • Aaron Salter, 55, of Lockport
  • Geraldine Talley, 62, of Buffalo
  • Celestine Chaney, 65 of Buffalo
  • Heyward Patterson, 67, of Buffalo
  • Katherine Massey, 72, of Buffalo
  • Pearl Young, 77, of Buffalo
  • Ruth Whitfield, 86, of Buffalo 

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced $2.8 million in funding for the victims and their families, according to a statement from her office.

Read more about the victims here.

Buffalo shooting suspect had plans to “continue his rampage,” police commissioner says

Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said the Buffalo shooting suspect had plans to “continue his rampage.”

In an interview with CNN on Monday, Gramaglia said, “there was evidence that was uncovered that he had plans, had he gotten out of here, to continue his rampage, and continue shooting people. He’d even spoken about possibly going to another store.”

Gramaglia said there is “some documentation” that he had plans to possibly shoot “another large superstore.”

“He was going to get in his car and continue to drive down Jefferson Avenue and continue doing the same thing,” he said.

Authorities uncover more about the racially motivated attack in Buffalo

Outside a supermarket in a largely Black section of Buffalo, New York, mourners have been gathering to honor 10 people killed Saturday in a mass shooting, their pain intensified by what authorities say was the gunman’s racially charged motive.

Shock in this community and around the nation has multiplied as more details have emerged of a racist diatribe allegedly written by the 18-year-old White man suspected of traveling nearly 200 miles from his home to unleash an attack at the grocery in a predominantly Black neighborhood.

Eleven of the 13 people shot were Black, officials said, and the massacre is being investigated as a hate crime. The victims range in age from 20 to 86, police said, among them a former police officer who tried to stop the gunman and a 62-year-old doing her regular grocery, shopping with her fiancé.

The shooting, which also left three wounded, was a “straight-up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community,” Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said. “This was pure evil.”

The gunman opened fire Saturday afternoon outside a Tops Friendly Markets store, shooting to death several people in the parking lot before entering the building. He exchanged gunfire with an armed security guard — who was killed — and shot more people inside, then exited and surrendered to police.

Investigators believe the suspect was in Buffalo a day before the shooting and did some reconnaissance at the Tops Friendly Markets store, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said. They also believe he acted alone, Gramaglia said.

The suspect, Payton S. Gendron, pleaded not guilty Saturday night to a charge of first-degree murder, Buffalo City Court Chief Judge Craig Hannah told CNN, and the district attorney has said he expects to file more charges. Gendron is in custody without bail and under suicide watch, Garcia said. If convicted, he faces a maximum of life in prison without parole.

“I’m sad, I’m hurt, I’m mad because I never thought this would have happened here in the city of Buffalo,” resident Liz Bosley told CNN affiliate Spectrum News NY1.

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