The white gunman accused of killing ten Black people at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket let a small group of individuals read his precise preparations for the attack, which he had been documenting for months in a private online blog.
The store - a branch of Tops Friendly Markets - is located three miles north of downtown Buffalo in a predominantly black neighbourhood.
Payton Gendron, 18, kept a diary on Discord, which verified on Wednesday (18 May) that an invitation to see his private writings was extended to the group around 30 minutes before the attack, which he live-streamed on another online service. Some of them accepted.
It's unclear whether anyone who read Gendron's diary or saw his livestream did anything to notify authorities or try to stop the attack.
It is the 14th fatal mass shooting in the United States this month, and the deadliest in the country this year.
Here is everything you need to know about it.
The gunman entered the supermarket with a rifle and opened fire.
He was wearing military gear and filming the killings with a helmet camera - he streamed the shooting live on Twitch for at least two minutes until the service cut him off.
He reportedly shot four individuals outside the store, three of whom were killed, before entering and firing on those inside.
Security guard Aaron Salter, a retired Buffalo police officer, fired multiple shots, one of which struck the gunman.
But the shooter was wearing a bulletproof vest, and murdered Salter before moving on to additional victims.
When approached, the gunman held his rifle to his own neck, but officers persuaded him to drop the weapon and captured him.
Before surrendering to authorities, officials stated he had shot 11 black and two white victims - 10 of those 13 victims were killed.
Who is the suspect?
The suspect in the shooting has been identified as 18-year-old Payton Gendron, who is currently in custody.
Since his arrest, he has appeared before a judge in a paper medical gown, and was arraigned on first degree murder charges. He has pleaded not guilty.
A felony hearing in front of a grand jury is set to commence on Thursday 19 May, and Gendron is being held without bail under suicide watch. A not guilty plea has been entered on his behalf.
According to a spokesperson, Gendron was on the police’s radar last year after threatening to carry out a shooting at a high school.
On 8 June 2021, New York State Police were dispatched to Susquehanna High School in Conklin, following a report that a 17-year-old student had made threatening statements.
Police said the student was taken into custody and transferred to a hospital for evaluation under state mental health law.
Was the attack racially motivated?
According to CBS, the gunman yelled racist slurs during the incident and had another racial slur scrawled on his weapon.
It was not immediately clear why Gendron travelled 200 miles to Buffalo to stage the assault, but it has since been revealed he had investigated the local demography while looking for areas with a large black population.
Stephen Belongia, from the FBI’s Buffalo office, said: “We are investigating this incident as both a hate crime and a case of racially-motivated violent extremism.”
Ahead of the attack,a 180-page manifesto that was uploaded online, detailing the conspiracy and naming Gendron as the gunman.
In the manifesto, Gendron identifies himself as a white supremacist, and supports the "Great Replacement" conspiracy theory, which claims white European populations are being replaced demographically and culturally by non-Europeans.
The author of the manifesto states that he began preparing the attack in January 2022, and that he chose Buffalo as the city with the most black residents closest to his home.
The manifesto also contains biographical information, including a birth date, that matches the suspect’s, as well as details of a plan to travel to another predominantly black neighbourhood in Buffalo following the grocery attack to carry out additional attacks.
The racist, antisemitic notes in Gendron's Discord diary date from November 2021, and contain step-by-step details of his assault preparations, a detailed account of a reconnaissance trip he took to Buffalo in March, and hand-drawn maps of the supermarket.
Discord said it took down Gendron's diary as soon as it was made aware of it, in compliance with the company's standards against violent extremism.
After the shooting, copies of his Discord diary — essentially a transcript of his entries to his private chat log — appeared elsewhere on the internet.
According to reports, Gendron was inspired by the individual who murdered 51 people in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019; New Zealand’s Acting Chief Censor Rupert Ablett-Hampson has issued an interim ban on the manifesto’s circulation in his country.
New York governor Kathy Hochul said: “It is my sincere hope that this individual, this white supremacist who just perpetrated a hate crime on an innocent community, will spend the rest of his days behind bars. And heaven help him in the next world as well.”
Who were the victims?
Officials have disclosed the names of the ten people killed in the racially motivated attack.
A former police officer, a woman who helped feed the underprivileged, and a man who drove shoppers to and from the grocery were among them.
Details of the victims were officially released by local police. The names of the 10 who died were:
- Roberta A. Drury, 32
- Margus D. Morrison, 52,
- Andre Mackneil, 53
- Aaron Salter, 55
- Geraldine Talley, 62
- Celestine Chaney, 65
- Heyward Patterson, 67
- Katherine Massey, 72
- Pearl Young, 77
- Ruth Whitfield, 86
For more detals on the victims, head to our dedicated explainer.
What has President Biden said?
President Biden took aim at the "poison" of white supremacy during a speech given in Buffalo., saying: "In America, evil will not win, I promise you. Hate will not prevail, white supremacy will not have the last word."
He added: "Now is the time for the people of all races, from every background, to speak up as a majority in America and reject white supremacy."
The president also mentioned major shootings in Charleston, South Carolina, El Paso, Texas, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Dallas, Texas, that have taken place in recent years.
"These actions we've seen in these hate-filled attacks represent the views of a hateful minority,” he said. “We can't allow them to distort America, the real America. We can't allow them to destroy the soul of the nation."
Biden said the gunman was driven by “hate that through the media and politics, the internet has radicalised angry alienated, lost and isolated individuals into falsely believing that they will be replaced… by people who don’t look like them”.