It also shows the suspect walking into the supermarket and shooting several other victims inside, the official said. One of the victims was a recently retired police officer who was working as a security guard at the store, according to the official.
One of the officials cautioned the investigation was in its preliminary stages and that authorities hadn’t yet discerned a clear motive, but were investigating whether the shooting was racially motivated.
The supermarket is in a predominantly Black neighborhood, about 3 miles north of downtown Buffalo. The surrounding area is primarily residential, with a Family Dollar store and fire station near the store.
Buffalo police confirmed the shooter was in custody in a tweet, but did not identify the suspect. Police officials did not immediately respond to messages from the AP seeking comment.
Witnesses reported the gunman was wearing military-style clothing in addition to the body armor, one of the officials said
Braedyn Kephart and Shane Hill, both 20, pulled into the parking lot just as the shooter was exiting. They described him as a white male in his late teens or early twenties sporting full camo, a black helmet and what appeared to be a rifle.
“He was standing there with the gun to his chin. We were like what the heck is going on? Why does this kid have a gun to his face from him? Kephart said. He dropped to his knees. “He ripped off his helmet, dropped his gun, and was tackled by the police.”
Tops Friendly Markets released a statement saying, “We are shocked and deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”
Police closed off the block, lined by spectators, and yellow police taped surrounded the full parking lot. Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz were at the scene late Saturday afternoon, gathered in a parking lot across the street from the Tops store and expected to address the media.
More than two hours of the shooting, Erica Pugh-Mathews was waiting outside the store, behind the police tape.
“We would like to know the status of my aunt, my mother’s sister. She was in there with her fiance de ella, they separated and went to different aisles, ”she said. “A bullet barely missed him. He was able to hide in a freezer but he was not able to get to my aunt and he does not know where she is. We just would like word either way if she’s OK.”
Gov. Kathy Hochul tweeted that she was “closely monitoring the shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo,” her hometown. She said state officials have offered help to local authorities. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office said on social media that it ordered all available personnel to assist Buffalo police.
Attorney General Merrick Garland was briefed on the shooting, Justice Department spokesperson Anthony Coley said.
The shooting came little more than a year after a March 2021 attack at a King Soopers grocery in Boulder, Colorado, that killed 10 people. Investigators have not released any information about why they believe the man charged in that attack targeted the supermarket.