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Buffalo Supermarket Shooting Survivors Give Their Accounts On What Happened

by : Poppy Bilderbeck on :
Buffalo Supermarket Shooting Survivors Give Their Accounts On What Happened
Buffalo Supermarket Shooting Survivors Give Their Accounts On What Happened (Alamy)

Survivors of the Buffalo supermarket shooting have spoken out about the attack.

On Saturday, 14 May, a gunman targeted a Tops Friendly Market in a predominantly Black neighbourhood in Buffalo, New York.

Sheriff John Garcia called the mass shooting a 'straight up [...] racially motivated hate crime'.

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Some of those present in the supermarket at the time of the mass shooting have now given their accounts of what happened.

Survivors of the Buffalo shooting have spoken out. Credit: Alamy
Survivors of the Buffalo shooting have spoken out. Credit: Alamy

Tops Market operational manager Shonnell Harris told The Buffalo News the store was 'packed'.

She recalled hearing gunshots, and ran through the back exit. Harris explained how the shooter, who she said was white, looked like he was 'in the Army' because he was wearing camouflage.

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The incident was seen from afar by retired firefighter and medic Katherine Crofton.

Crofton was at her house on Riley Street having a cigarette outside when she 'turned around and [...] saw him [the attacker] shoot this woman'.

"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," Crofton said.

Crofton saw the police 'just screaming' at the gunman as he left the store.

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"He just stood there. It was like he wanted them to shoot him," Crofton said.

The gunman was identified as white by the supermarket's operational manager. Credit: Alamy
The gunman was identified as white by the supermarket's operational manager. Credit: Alamy

Friends Braedyn Kaphart and Shayne Hill nearly bumped into the shooter as he tried to flee the scene.

The pair had pulled up to park at the store, however they were quickly confronted by police who told them to not leave the vehicle.

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Kaphart said the gunman held 'his weapon to his chin, looking like he was going to blow his head off'.

"We weren't sure what was happening. As he continued to do that, he dropped to his knees still appearing as if he might shoot himself," the witness reflected.

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Kaphart saw the gunman tackled to the floor by police.

According to Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia, 11 of the victims who were shot were Black, and two were white. At least 10 people died in the attack. Four of those shot were employees of the Tops store.

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Visitors at the store, including an eight-year-old girl, are said to have sheltered in a freezer room to hide from the attacker.

A law enforcement official who attended the scene said: "It's like walking onto a horror movie, but everything is real. It is Armageddon-like. It is so overwhelming."

Suspect Payton Gendron was arraigned before a judge on Saturday, 14 May. Credit: Alamy
Suspect Payton Gendron was arraigned before a judge on Saturday, 14 May. Credit: Alamy

On Saturday evening, alleged shooter 18-year-old Payton Gendron was arraigned on murder charges at Buffalo City Court. He pleaded not guilty.

Gendron is said to have posted a white supremacist manifesto online prior to the attack, the New York Post reports.

The attack is being investigated 'both as a hate crime and racially motivated violent extremism', local FBI head Stephen Belongia stated.

US President Joe Biden has since issued a statement in support of all those affected by the shooting.

He said: "We grieve for the families of 10 people whose lives were senselessly taken and everyone who is suffering the physical and emotional wounds of this horrific shooting.

"The First Lady and I are praying for the victims and their families, and hearts all across this country are with the people of Buffalo."

The president said more needs to be learnt about the 'motivation' of the attack, adding: "A racially-motivated hate crime is abhorrent to the very fabric of this nation. Any act of domestic terrorism, including an act perpetrated in the name of a repugnant white nationalist ideology, is antithetical to everything we stand for in America. Hate must have no safe harbour. We must do everything in our power to end hate-fuelled domestic terrorism."

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org 

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677 

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Poppy Bilderbeck

Poppy Bilderbeck is a Junior Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from The University of Manchester in 2021 with a First in English Literature and Drama, where alongside her studies she was Editor-in-Chief of The Tab Manchester. She currently runs the mental health column for UNILAD, and is such a crisp fanatic that the office has now been forced to release them in batches.

Topics: News, US News, Crime