An 18-year-old white gunman has opened fire at a supermarket in a Black neighbourhood in the US city of Buffalo, killing 10 people in what authorities called an act of “racially motivated violent extremism”.
Three others were wounded in the attack at the Tops Friendly Market on Saturday.
The gunman, who was armed with an assault-style rifle and wearing body armour, was arrested after the shooting spree. Officials said he drove to Buffalo from his home in a New York state county “hours away” to launch the attack, which he broadcast on the internet.
Eleven of the victims were Black and two were white.
Stephen Belongia, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Buffalo field office, told reporters that the shooting is being investigated as “both a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism”.
Joseph Gramaglia, the Buffalo Police Commissioner, said the suspect killed nine customers and a retired police officer working as an armed security guard.
When confronted by police in a vestibule of the shop, the suspect held a gun to his own neck but they talked him into dropping the weapon and surrendering, the police commissioner added.
The suspect was later identified as Payton Gendron, of Conklin, a New York state community about 320 kilometres (200 miles) southeast of Buffalo, two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press news agency. The officials were not permitted to speak publicly on the matter and did so on the condition of anonymity.
Gendron has now been arraigned on a charge of first-degree murder, which carries a sentence of life without parole. He is being held without bail.
Witnesses of the attack described indiscriminate shooting at the scene.
Shonnell Harris, a manager at Tops, told the Buffalo News she thought she heard as many as 70 gunshots and that she fell several times as she ran through the shop to a rear exit.
“He looked like he was in the army,” she told the newspaper, describing the camouflage-clad assailant.
Retired firefighter Katherine Crofton, who lives nearby, said she witnessed the start of the bloodshed from her porch.
“I saw him shoot this woman,” Crofton told the paper. “She was just going into the store. And then he shot another woman. She was putting groceries into her car. I got down because I did not know if he was going to shoot me.”