Police in New York City are deploying extra forces to Black houses of worship out of precaution after a deadly mass shooting Saturday in Buffalo, New York, on a weekend where the nation saw exchanges of gunfire that also sent crowds running in Milwaukee and Los Angeles.
In Buffalo, the shooting at the Tops Friends Market grocery store unfolded as a suspect wearing military-style clothing and body armor shot at least 10 people dead around 2:30 p.m., the Associated Press reported.
Evidence suggests race may have been a motivating factor in that attack, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said during a press conference. He confirmed 11 of the 13 people shot were Black and said the suspect allegedly targeted Buffalo for its high Black population, driving hours from his home in an undisclosed county of New York.
In response to the reports, the NYPD contacted officers in Buffalo.
“We reached out to our partners in Buffalo PD immediately upon learning of the attack,” Sgt. Brendan Ryan, spokesman for the NYPD, told Newsweek in an email. “We offered any assistance and began running the suspect through our databases to determine if we had any information [of] value to Buffalo PD or if there was any New York City nexus.
“While we assess there is no threat to New York City stemming from this incident, out of an abundance of caution, we have shifted counterterrorism and patrol resources to give special attention to a number of locations and areas including major houses of worship in communities of color.”
The Buffalo suspect, identified as Payton Gendron, 18, by Buffalo City Court Chief Judge Craig Hannah, has been charged with first-degree murder, according to CNN. He is set to appear in court at 9:30 a.m. ET on Thursday.
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland issued a statement on the mass shooting Saturday night, calling it a “hate crime.”
“Tonight, the country mourns the victims of a senseless, horrific shooting in Buffalo, New York. The FBI and ATF are working closely with the Buffalo Police Department and federal, state, and local law enforcement partners,” Garland said in the statement. “The Justice Department is investigating this matter as a hate crime and an act of racially-motivated violent extremism. The Justice Department is committed to conducting a thorough and expeditious investigation into this shooting and to seeking justice for these innocent victims.”
The livestreaming platform Twitch confirmed to CNN the incident was broadcast and federal officials said a purported manifesto allegedly posted by the suspect is also under review.
In the wake of the Buffalo shooting, police in Los Angeles are searching for a suspect who shot someone outside downtown’s bustling Grand Central Market in another weekend shooting that sent patrons running.
LAPD responded at 3:56 p.m. Saturday to a report of a shooting near Grand Central Market on South Hill Street, according to the Los Angeles Times. The victim was in unknown condition, Officer Rosario Cervantes told the newspaper.
A male suspect was still at large as police searched the area. Videos shared across social media platforms showed frightened patrons running away.
An employee told the newspaper the incident happened near the entrance of the venue, described on its website as Los Angeles’ “largest and oldest public market” offering 40 vendor stalls that “are home to an only-in-LA blend of legacy vendors.”
In Milwaukee late Friday, fans at a Milwaukee Bucks-Boston Celtics game fled through the streets as three people were shot near Fiserv Forum.
That shooting saw one man and two women suffer non-life threatening injuries, police said.
In other shooting incidents in Milwaukee on Friday, three people were killed in three separate shootings, according to a report from Milwaukee’s Fox 6.
Newsweek reached out to the Los Angeles Police Department and Buffalo Police Department for comment.