Buffalo mass shooting eyewitnesses describe running for their lives as bullets flew in the suspected racist attack on a grocery store, per reports
- A gunman shot 13 people, killing 10, in a supermarket in Buffalo,
New York, on Saturday afternoon.
- The supermarket's manager told local media how she frantically ran when she heard gunshots.
A gunman shot 13 people, killing 10, in a mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday.
Officials said the mass shooting was racially motivated and that 11 out of the 13 people shot were Black.
Four of the victims were employees of Tops Friendly Market, while nine were customers, according to Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia.
Shonnell Harris, an employee, recounted her experience to The Buffalo News. She said the store was packed with weekend shoppers when the firing began on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
The operation manager said she frantically ran through the supermarket when she first heard gunshots fired by a young white man in army fatigues. She fell several times before escaping through a back exit, per the local media outlet. She thought she heard 70 shots, she told The Buffalo
The experience, she said, felt surreal. "It's like a dream, but I know it's not a dream," she told The Buffalo News. "You see it on TV. I never thought I'd be one of them," Harris added.
Jennifer Tookes, who witnessed the shooting, was also inside the supermarket when she heard multiple gunshots, she told NBC News.
"He stopped, shot again," she said, per NBC News. "Stopped, and started shooting again."
The shooting "was coming from the front of the store, and as I ran, it was getting closer," she said, according to the media outlet.
"You could hear him coming toward the back of the store," Tookes added. "I was just praying and trying to get out. That's all I could do."
The 18-year-old gunman shot nine people inside of the store and four people outside, the local police commissioner said, according to ABC News.
The suspect drove 200 miles to target a Black community
Braedyn Kaphart was outside of Tops, pulling into a parking space when she saw the gunman. He looked like he was preparing to kill himself, Kaphart told The Buffalo News.
"He was standing there in his military gear with his weapon to his chin, looking like he was going to blow his head off," Kaphart said, per the local media outlet.
The gunman was holding his gun to his neck when police engaged him and convinced him to lower his weapon, remove his tactical gear, and surrender, authorities said.
Katherine Crofton, a retired firefighter, said she also caught sight of the gunman outside the supermarket. She was playing with her dog and smoking a cigarette on her porch when this happened, she told The Buffalo Times.
"The guy walked out of the store, the cops were just screaming at him, and he just stood there," Crofton told the local media outlet. "He just stood there. It was like he wanted them to shoot him."
The shooting suspect is due to appear at a felony hearing on May 19, according to Erie County District Attorney John Flynn. He added that a first-degree murder charge carries a potential penalty of life in prison without parole.
The shooting suspect traveled about 200 miles from Conklin, New York, to reach the predominantly Black area of Buffalo, BBC News reported.
Authorities also said the gunman live-streamed the attack using a camera attached to the tactical helmet he was wearing.
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