Workers and shoppers described the chaos and carnage at Tops supermarket in Buffalo when an 18-year-old man opened fire at the store on Saturday in what officials described as a racially motivated mass shooting that left 10 dead and three others injured.
The shooting caused people inside the store to flee for their lives from the nearest exit or hide in refrigerators. Several friends and family members of those who were in the store are hours later waiting for news from their loved ones.
Officials have not yet released the names of the victims but said 11 of those shot were black and two were white. One victim is a retired Buffalo police officer.
Shonnell Harris, an operations manager at the Tops, told The Buffalo News she heard 70 gunshots at the market, which was “packed” with weekend shoppers.
She said she fell several times while sprinting to the back of the market. She said she saw the gunman, who was identified as Payton Gendron of Conklin, New York, over three hours from Buffalo.
“It’s like a dream, but I know it’s not a dream,” Harris said.
Her daughter also works in the supermarket, she told the newspaper. Harris said she was able to locate her daughter, who was sure to be in the back of the store.
“I just grabbed her, I hugged her.”
A dairy worker at Tops market said he was hiding in the cooler where he was storing milk just before gunshots broke out.
“I just heard gunshots. Shots and shots and shots,” he told the newspaper. “It sounded like things were going to fall over.”
He said other frightened people joined him in the cooler.
“I hid. I just hid. I didn’t want to leave this room.”
Veronica Hemphill-Nichols said she was heading to the Tops for a one-way trip for a loaf of bread when she saw bodies lying on the ground in the parking lot.
She told the Buffalo News she was “broke right now” after seeing the bodies and was “trying to switch off now.”
Across the street from the Tops, retired firefighter and paramedic Katherine Crofton recalled seeing the Gendron after hearing the gunshots ring out while sitting on her porch with her dog. She told the newspaper she saw him shoot two women.
“I didn’t see him at first, I turned and saw him shoot that woman,” Crofton told the newspaper. “She just went to the store. And then he shot another woman. She packed groceries in her car. I came down because I didn’t know if he was going to shoot me.”
She described the tense scene as Gendron emerged from the market and was confronted by emergency services. Crofton said he “just stood there” as cops yelled at him “like he wanted them to shoot him.”
Gendron was arrested by police and charged hours later on Saturday.
The mass shooting — the largest so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive — “is being investigated as both a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism,” Stephen Belongia, the special agent in charge, told the FBI’s Buffalo field office at a news conference With.
Officials said Gendron arrived at the supermarket heavily armed and with tactical gear. He killed three people and injured a fourth in the parking lot.
A security guard and former Buffalo police officer tried to stop him and shot Gendron, but the bullet failed to pierce his armor. The gunman shot the security guard and continued his deadly rampage inside the store.
Gendronn also brought a camera and broadcast the massacre live on Twitch, the streaming platform confirmed. The stream was removed from the premises two minutes after filming began, a spokesman told The Post.
https://nypost.com/2022/05/14/buffalo-supermarket-shooting-witnesses-recall-horror-of-massacre/ Witnesses remember the horror of the massacre