Payton Gendron is the suspect accused of killing at least 10 people at a Tops Friendly Market grocery store in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday, May 14, 2022, while live-streaming video. Gendron was taken into custody at the scene, Buffalo Police said. Three others were wounded. Gendron is facing first-degree murder charges in New York state court and could also face federal charges, including hate crimes, officials said. Read about the 10 victims who were killed here.
“This was pure evil,” Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said in a news conference. “It was a straight-up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community.” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland called the mass murder “a hate crime and an act of racially-motivated violent extremism.”
A racist and anti-Semitic manifesto and a Twitch live stream were attributed to the gunman.
The author said he was a white supremacist and fascist. “Yes, I would call myself a white supremacist, afterall, which race is responsible for the world we live in today? I believe the White race is superior in the brain to all other races,” he wrote. “…Yes I am racist because I believe in differences of capabilities between races….YES!! I wish all JEWS to HELL! Go back to hell where you came from DEMON!”
A graphic video emerged showing bodies lying in the parking lot as law enforcement officers took the suspect into custody. Gendron is from Conklin, New York. He said in the manifesto he was an 18-year-old college student and a self-described white supremacist. Gendron was shot by a security guard but not injured because he was wearing body armor, Buffalo Police said at a press conference. In the manifesto, he said he targeted a city with a large Black population.
His mugshot has been released.
Screenshots showed that Gendron may have written the name of a Waukesha, Wisconsin, parade massacre victim on the barrel of his gun. The accused parade suspect, Darrell Brooks, is Black. The victim, Virginia Sorenson, a member of the Dancing Grannies troupe, was white. Police said Gendron also had the N-word written on his rifle.
Conklin is more than 200 miles southeast of Buffalo in the Southern Tier region of New York. Gendron included his name in the manifesto, and The Associated Press confirmed his identity with law enforcement sources. Gendron appeared in court Saturday night for his arraignment, officials said. He is being held without bond. He is scheduled to return to court in five days, according to authorities.
The victims who have been identified so far are Aaron Salter Jr., Ruth Whitfield, Pearly Young and Katherine Massey. Salter was a retired police officer working as a security guard.
Whitfield was the mother of a retired fire commissioner. The other two women were shopping.
Gendron pleaded not guilty, officials said. The Erie County District Attorney’s Office tweeted: “Payton S. Gendron, 18, of #Conklin, NY has been arraigned in Buffalo City Court on one count of Murder in the First Degree. He was remanded without bail. A felony hearing was scheduled for Thursday, May 19 at 9:30 a.m.”
The manifesto, which talks about the extremist far-right white or great replacement theory and includes alt-right 4chan memes and jokes, is similar to ones written by shooters who attacked a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, the Tree of Life synagogue in Pennsylvania and an El Paso, Texas, Walmart in recent years, Yale professor Jason Stanley said.
According to The Buffalo News, 10 people were killed and three were wounded, two critically. “It’s like walking onto a horror movie, but everything is real. It is Armageddon-like,” a police source told the newspaper. “It is so overwhelming.”
Here are a few verified fundraisers, according to GoFundMe:
According to authorities, 11 of the 13 victims were Black and two were white. The victims include four store employees. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at a press conference, “Buffalo is known as the city of good neighbors nationally and internationally. This is a community where people love each other. The shooter was not from this community. In fact, the shooter traveled hours from outside this community to perpetrate this crime on the people of Buffalo.”
Brown added, “A day when people were enjoying the sunshine, enjoying family, enjoying friends, all manner of happy activities. People in a supermarket, shopping, and bullets raining down on them. People’s lives being snuffed out in an instant for no reason.”
Here’s what you need to know about Payton Gendron and the Buffalo mass shooting:
1. Gendron Is Accused of Wearing Military Gear & Carrying a Rifle Into the Store; a Retired Police Officer Is Among the Dead
NBC New York reported that the gunman carried “a rifle and wore military-style gear or a type of body armor.”
The Buffalo News reported that the suspect was “dressed in body armor and armed with a high-powered rifle.” New York Governor Kathy Hochul said the suspect is believed to have used a gun that was legally purchased but modified with illegal magazines. She said investigators are working to determine where the magazines were purchased. She said they are sold legally elsewhere in the country, including in Pennsylvania.
The newspaper reported that one of the victims was “a recently retired Buffalo police officer who was working security at the store.” His name was Aaron Salter Jr. According to the newspaper, half of the bodies were discovered in the parking lot of the store.
Witness Shonnell Harris, a store employee, told The Buffalo News that the shooter was “a white man wearing camouflage.”
“He looked like he was in the Army,” she said, explaining she heard as many as 70 shots.
A video (see above) emerged that appeared to show the suspect driving up to the Tops store.
A more graphic video emerged showing bodies on the ground. Heavy is not embedding that video because it is so graphic. The graphic video showed the suspect being taken into custody by law enforcement officers.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said at a press conference the shooting happened about 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. Gramaglia said the suspect drove to the Tops market in Buffalo and was “heavily armed” when he got out of his vehicle.
“He had tactical gear; he had a tactical helmet on. He had a camera that was live-streaming what he was doing,” Gramaglia said. “The individual exited his car and engaged four individuals. He shot four people in the parking lot.” Three of those people were killed and a fourth was being treated at a hospital.
The police commissioner said the suspect then went inside. “One of the individuals inside the store is a security guard, a beloved security guard who is a retired Buffalo Police officer, a hero in our eyes, engaged the suspect, fired multiple shots, struck the suspect, but because he had heavy armor plating on, that bullet had no round.” The suspect then killed the security guard, police said.
Gramaglia said the suspect continued through the store after shooting the security guard. He was taken into custody in the front of store by police. According to Gramaglia, the suspect put his gun to his own neck, but patrol officers were able to talk the suspect into dropping the gun. He surrendered after removing some of his gear, police said.
2. Payton Gendron, a New York Native, Previously Threatened a School Shooting, The Buffalo News Reported
Payton Gendron’s Facebook and other social media presences could not immediately be found by Heavy because they were deleted either before or after the shooting. In 2020, the suspect’s mother posted on Facebook pictures of Gendron, writing, “Crazy time for Payton’s college visit.” That same year, she posted more pictures of Gendron and wrote, “And just like that we have a 17 year old in the house.”
Gendron, born June 20, 2003, is also seen in photos on his father’s Facebook page. He has two younger brothers and was born and raised in Conklin, New York, in Broome County, according to his parents’ social media pages. He attended school in the Susquehanna Valley Central School District. He was also a former student at the State University of New York (SUNY) Broome Community College, but details about when exactly he studied there were not immediately available, college officials said.
Gendron’s family has not commented about the shooting and it was not immediately clear whether he had hired an attorney or whether he had been appointed one who could speak on his behalf.
Photos that Gendron claims in his manifesto to be of him are actually of comedian Sam Hyde. Trolls on 4chan and elsewhere often post pictures of Hyde after mass shootings and other incidents to trick people into identifying him as the suspect. The New York Times wrote about the Hyde phenomenon in 2017.
According to The Buffalo News, Gendron was previously investigated by police in June 2021. Broome County officials said students at a local high school reported he had threatened violence while talking to other students.
“A school official reported that this very troubled young man had made statements indicating that he wanted to do a shooting, either at a graduation ceremony, or sometime after,” an unnamed government official told The Buffalo News. New York State Police investigated and Gendron was referred for a mental health evaluation and counseling, the newspaper reports.
3. The Racist Manifesto Rails About ‘Mass Immigration’ & Describes the Author as ‘the Sole Perpetrator of the Recent Attempted Mass Shooting’
The manifesto fixates on mass immigration.
“Mass immigration and the higher fertility rates of the immigrants themselves are causing this increase in population. We are experiencing an invasion on a level never seen before in history,” it says. “Millions of people pouring across our borders, legally. Invited by the state and corporate entities to replace the White people who have failed to reproduce, failed to create the cheap labor, failed to create new consumers and tax base that the corporations and states need to have to thrive.”
It continues, “This crisis of mass immigration and sub-replacement fertility is an assault on the European people that, if not combated, will ultimately result in the complete racial and cultural replacement of the European people.”
The manifesto, which refers to “white genocide,” contains a name and says that the author is “18 years old as of writing this. I am the sole perpetrator of the recent attempted mass shooting. I lived in Southern Tier, New York all my life with both my parents and 2 brothers. I believe I am ethnically white since my parent’s nationalities are from north-western Europe and Italy. I graduated highschool with a regents diploma with advanced designation and am currently enrolled in SUNY Broome with a major in Engineering Science.”
It continues, “I would love to continue this but there are bigger problems I’m more concerned with. I am not a warfighter, nor have I been enrolled in any military or tactical training, so excuse any mistakes I make during my attack. I was never diagnosed with a mental disability or disorder, and I believe to be perfectly sane.”
He claimed to be an INTJ personality type on the Myer-Briggs scale and included photos of a fake active shooter that often circulate online after mass shootings. The manifesto contains many pages of anti-Jewish memes and graphics.
The manifesto states:
Why did you decide to carry out the attack?
To show to the replacers that as long as the White man lives, our land will never be theirs and they will never be safe from us.
To directly reduce immigration rates to European lands by intimidating and physically removing the replacers themselves.
To intimidate the replacers already living on our lands to emigrate back to their home countries.
To agitate the political enemies of my people into action, to cause them to overextend their own hand and experience the eventual and inevitable backlash as a result.
To incite violence, retaliation and further divide between the European people and the replacers currently occupying European soil…
To add momentum to the pendulum swings of history, further destabilizing and polarizing Western society in order to eventually destroy the current nihilistic, hedonistic, individualistic insanity that has taken control of Western thought.
The manifesto answers the question, “Why did you choose firearms?” by saying, “Because they work, there are very few weapons that are easier to use and more effective at killing than firearms, especially the Bushmaster XM-15 I will be using. The effect it would have on social discourse, the extra media coverage they would provide, and the changes to gun laws that will be pushed will all help my case.”
In another passage, he wrote, “Why did you choose (REDACTED) for the place of attack?” and explained:
(REDACTED) has the highest black population percentage (zip code *****) and isn’t that far away. Plus NY has heavy gun laws so it would ease me if I knew that any legally armed civilian was limited to 10 round magazines or cucked firearms. I replaced the name of the city to redacted because I’d prefer that the FBI and local police don’t know until the attack has started. After the attack can somebody switch it over plz?
He said he wasn’t Christian, writing, “No. I do not ask God for salvation by faith, nor do I confess my sins to Him. I personally believe there is no afterlife. I do however believe in and practice many Christian values.”
Of his political views, he wrote that he was not conservative, saying, “No, conservatism is corporatism in disguise, I want no part of it.” He continued,
Are you “right wing”?
Depending on the definition, sure.
Are you “left wing”?
Depending on the definition, sure.
Are you a socialist?
Depending on the definition. Worker ownership of the means of production? It depends on who those workers are, their intentions, who currently owns the means of production, their intentions and who currently owns the state, and their intentions.
…When I was 12 I was deep into communist ideology, talk to anyone from my old highschool and ask about me and you will hear that. From age 15 to 18 however, I consistently moved farther to the right. On the political compass I fall in the mild-moderate authoritarian left category, and I would prefer to be called a populist.
He indicated he was influenced by a New Zealand mass shooter who also live streamed his attack, writing, of his key influence, “Yes and his name is Brenton Harrison Tarrant. Brenton’s livestream started everything you see here. Brenton started my real research into the problems with immigration and foreigners in our White lands, without his livestream I would likely have no idea about the real problems the West is facing.”
The shooting is being investigated as a hate crime and case of racially motivated violent extremism, federal authorities said. Stephen Belongia, the FBI special agent in charge of the Buffalo field office, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York is also assisting in the investigation along with state and local authorities.
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said at the press conference, “This individual will be arranged on a charge of murder in the first degree.” He called the shooting “despicable.” Flynn added, “That charge of murder in the first degree carries with it a life without parole sentence.” He said additional charges could be filed at a later date.
4. The Suspect Streamed the Attack Live on Twitch Using the Name ‘Jimboboiii’ — The Video Shows the Gunman Driving to the Store & Shooting Multiple People, While at One Point Pointing His Gun at a White Man & Walking Away After Saying ‘Sorry’
Payton Gendron live-streamed the shooting on Twitch, authorities said. Screenshots and video clips that have emerged online show that his now-deleted account was called “jimmboboiii.” Heavy is not linking to the clips that show the shooting.
The portions of the stream viewed by Heavy show the gunman driving up to the store and shooting the first people he sees outside the store as he walks inside. The video shows Gendron’s gun has “14” written on it in white. According to his manifesto, that his a reference to a white supremacist slogan.
The shooter can then be seen walking into the store and shooting two people who appeared to be trying to get to cover. The suspect can then be seen stopping in an aisle to reload his rifle and then shooting a wounded woman in the head. After shooting another person near cash registers, the suspect points his gun at a white man. The suspect apologizes, says “sorry” and walks away from him without shooting him.
Twitch issued a statement about the live stream, “We are devastated to hear about the shooting that took place this afternoon in Buffalo, New York. Our hearts go out to the community impacted by this tragedy. Twitch has a zero-tolerance policy against violence of any kind and works swiftly to respond to all incidents.
Twitch added, “The user has been indefinitely suspended from our service and we are taking all appropriate action, including monitoring for any accounts rebroadcasting this content.” The live-streaming company said any rebroadcasts would also be deleted and those accounts would be banned from the service.”
“Jimboboiii” also has a Steam profile, but there isn’t much on it.
Another Twitter page wrote, “The shooter streamed it live on twitch but there was only 20 viewers, the VOD was deleted and idk if anyone recorded it.”
A now-deleted Reddit account with the same username had posted in recent months about buying ammunition and body armor. The account was taken down after the shooting. Reddit has not commented about whether the account belonged to the suspect.
An account on a video-sharing website with the “Jimboboiii” username posted admiringly about the Christchurch mosque mass shooter two months ago. After the user wrote, “this video has moved me I was on the fence now I am committed to my race,” the “Jimmmboboiii” account replied, “You are not alone my friend ;).”
In one Reddit post, the user wrote two years ago, “I go shooting always with earplugs and earmuffs at all ties, my tinnitus gets really noticeable then but its so much better than the alternative of not using ear pro, shooting with earpro doesn’t change my tinnitus at all.”
Six hours before the shooting, the account posted on the ammo Reddit subreddit, “I’ve tried the 5.56×45 variant and those absolutely sucked. I could literally pull the bullets out of the casing with my fingers.”
The suspect also possibly plotted out his attack on a private Discord server that he then shared with acquaintances just hours before the shooting, according to Twitter user “@JoMiMi_h,” who shared a screenshot of the Discord just after the shooting and before Gendron was named as the suspect.
A former classmate told the Daily Mail that Gendron once wore a hazmat suit to school for a week. He created a “Hitler-esque” government for a school assignment, the site reported, adding that his parents are both civil engineers.
The Twitter user wrote, “One of my friends on Discord knew the guy a bit; they hadn’t contacted eachother for months until he got an invite to a server. He accepted and found this.” The screenshots show a to-do list with posts dating from March 5, 2022, to May 12, 2022, and include tasks like cleaning his AR-15 rifle, finishing his manifesto, writing a goodbye list, testing his Twitch stream and, in his final post, gluing his helmet-mounted camera to his helmet.
5. New York’s Governor Called Him a ‘White Supremacist’ Who Carried Out an ‘Act of Terrorism’
Gendron drove his parents’ car from Conklin to Buffalo, according to The Buffalo News. Police seized and impounded the car after the shooting for further investigation, and they were also searching his parents’ home, the newspaper reported.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul added on Twitter, “I’m on my way to Buffalo to assist with the response to today’s shooting. My heart breaks for the victims’ families and for everyone impacted by this horrific and despicable act of violence.”
According to Flynn, the local prosecutor, the FBI, ATF and local and state police were serving search warrants at Gendron’s home. It was not immediately clear if he lived with his family in Conklin or lived elsewhere. Flynn said it did not appear that Gendron was known to law enforcement and it was not believed that he had a previous criminal record. He said at this point it appears Gendron worked alone.
Hochul added at a press conference, “It’s hard to know what to say. This is my community. I know this community well. I’ve walked these streets, I know the individuals who live here. It’s a wonderful, tight-knit neighborhood. And to see the sense of security shattered by an individual, a white supremacist, who has engaged in an act of terrorism, and will be prosecuted as such, in a cold-hearted, cruel, calculating way, a military-style execution targeting people who simply want to buy groceries in a neighborhood store. It strikes us in our very hearts to know their is such evil that lurks out there.”
The governor also said, “Mark my words, we’ll be aggressive in our pursuit of anyone who subscribes to the ideals professed by other white supremacists. … There’s a feeding frenzy on social media platforms where hate festers more hate. That has to stop. These outlets must be more vigilant in monitoring social media content. And, certainly, that this act of barbarism, this execution of innocent human beings could be live-streamed on social media platforms and not taken down in a second, says to me that there is a responsibility out there and we are going to continue to work on this and make sure that those who provide these platforms have a moral and ethical, and I hope to have a legal, responsibility to ensure that such hate cannot populate these sites. Because this is the result.
Hochul said, “When you have individuals who use these platforms and talk to other that share these demented views and support each other and talk about the techniques they will engage in and post these ideas and share them with others in the hope that they can all someday rise up in their demented view of the world, that’s what white supremacist terrorism is all about. That’s what we witnessed here today on the streets of Buffalo, New York. And it has to end right here.”