At least seven people were killed in a Buffalo, New York, supermarket Saturday afternoon after a gunman carrying a rifle entered the store and opened fire, law enforcement sources said.
The shooter entered the Tops Friendly Market on Jefferson Avenue shortly after 2:30 pm and shot at least eight people, according to police sources. Seven of the people died and one person was said to be in critical condition.
The suspected gunman was arrested by police at the scene, the sources said, after officials initially reported that he died.
Sources said the shooter entered the grocery store wearing military-style gear or some type of body armor. Two rifles were also recovered, they added.
Investigators are looking into whether the suspect was motivated by white supremacist ideology, and if he may have posted a manifesto online.
The supermarket is in a predominantly Black neighborhood, about 3 miles (5 kilometers) north of downtown Buffalo. The surrounding area is primarily residential, with a Family Dollar store and fire station near the store.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,” a statement from a Tops Friendly Markets spokesperson said. “We appreciate the quick response of local law enforcement and are providing all available resources to assist authorities in the ongoing investigation.”
People in the immediate vicinity have been asked to avoid the store while police investigate.
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.”
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.
Gov. Kathy Hochul said she was “closely monitoring” the shooting and had offered assistance to local officials.
This story is developing.