Videos of looting in Buffalo, New York went viral yesterday after being posted on TikTok. The footage depicts the aftermath of looting that took place during the historic pre-Christmas storm that ravaged the region. In one video, a man is seen shooting at an out-of-view target.
One TikTok video has had more than 300,000 views on Twitter.
“Buffalo NY during a blizzard smh,” a caption on the video reads. “There’s birds in here,” a woman can be heard saying as people walk through a looted store with merchandise scattered on the ground.
At least 26 people have died in the deadly blizzard in Erie and Niagara Counties, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said in a December 26, 2022, press conference. He called it a “once in a lifetime, generational blizzard.”
Here’s what you need to know:
One Buffalo Looting Video Showed Shots Being Fired
In one video containing offensive language, a man can be heard stating that store owners “got their guns, they got their brooms.” He adds that they are “going to shoot somebody.”
The video depicts a group of people running down a street and yelling before shots ring out.
Another video shows the incident from a different vantagepoint. Warning: This Video Contains Offensive Racial Language.
Buffalo police were taking non-emergency reports through their website.
Buffalo officials said Sunday there have been only two verified reports of looting.
“We have had two confirmed reports of looting incidents where law enforcement has been dispatched and responded,” said Steven A. Nigrelli, the New York State Police Superintendent, according to WZRG.
“Those are still under investigation as we speak. Those are isolated incidents, and it’s not reflective of the great community of Western New York, and I’m sure that they’ll be limited to those two incidents or at least that’s our hope.”
WGRZ reported: “One viewer sent 2 On Your Side videos near Grant and West Ferry streets that appeared to show businesses with smashed windows. Another video showed a disheveled 7-11 near Hampshire and Niagara streets.”
Poloncarz confirmed that authorities have heard concerns about looting. “There have been a few scattered reports,” he said. I am heartbroken about the deaths … and then to find out there’s looting going on at the same time we are still recovering bodies … it’s horrible … we talk about this being a city of good neighbors … and then we hear this. It’s just horrible,” he said.
In the December 26, 2022, news conference, Poloncarz said that law enforcement has been working on life saving and will transition within 24 to 48 hours of December 26, 2022, to traditional law enforcement measures.
“To see this happening is just terrible.” The undersheriff confirmed in the same news conference there are “some opportunistic criminals in our society,” and he noted that there were “some burglaries” that took place in Buffalo. He said police made an arrest in one case, and police would soon be responding to looting situations more quickly.
Another Video Showed People Running Into a Family Dollar Store
In another Buffalo, New York, looting video people are seen running into a Family Dollar store.
Another video showed people carrying a large item down the street.
Yet another video showed people emerging from a building through a broken glass door.
According to the New York governor’s office, on Thursday Governor Hochul declared a statewide State of Emergency ahead of the winter storm event. Hochul also deployed 200 members of the New York National Guard “to assist New Yorkers facing emergencies and those who are unable to travel.”
According to Buffalo police, the city was operating under a travel ban due to the blizzard.
In a December 26 Facebook post, Erie County Sheriff’s Department wrote, “Although driving bans are in place for some areas of #ErieCounty people are encouraged to stay home so first responders can conduct welfare checks and plows can continue to clear the roadways.”
A woman responded on the comment thread, “And what are people supposed to do, in the city of Buffalo, about food, and other essential items they need?! There has not been ONE plow in our WHOLE ‘district’ since this started. AND there are NO ‘abandoned vehicles’ blocking their path either!!! Hertle is free of cars, Starin is free of cars…..let’s get going now!!!!”
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