On May 14, 2022, a gunman killed 10 people and injured 3 more inside a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, after espousing violent white supremacist and antisemitic views online. In court following his arrest, the alleged gunman, identified as 18-year-old Payton S. Gendron, from Southern Tier, New York, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and was ordered held without bail.
According to an online screed Gendron allegedly posted shortly before the attack, his goal was to “spread awareness to my fellow whites about the real problems the West is facing,” and “encourage further attacks that will eventually start the war that will save the Western world.” It is not clear where this document was originally posted, but Gendron reportedly claimed he planned to post it on 8chan.moe and 4chan, and send links to Discord servers.
The manifesto’s language closely echoes the themes of previous rants posted by white supremacist shooters, and refers repeatedly to the virulently racist and antisemitic Great Replacement conspiracy theory, which argues that Jews are responsible for non-white immigration into the United States, and that non-white immigrants will eventually replace (and lead to the extinction of) the white race.
During a press conference, police said Gendron arrived on scene around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 14, wearing tactical armor, a tactical helmet and a body camera. They say Gendron shot four people in the parking lot before entering the store. Once inside, he reportedly shot customers, a security guard and other employees. The security guard reportedly tried to shoot Gendron but couldn’t penetrate the tactical armor. Gendron tried to shoot himself in the neck when confronted by Buffalo police, but he eventually surrendered. Of the 13 victims, 11 were Black and two were white. The shooter attempted to livestream the shooting on the popular game streaming platform Twitch, but the link was quickly taken down.
Before the shooting, Gendron allegedly posted a virulently racist, 180-page manifesto detailing his reasons for the attack. According to the manifesto, Gendron chose that store and zip code because he believed a high percentage of Black people live there. This mirrors the approach taken by white supremacist shooter Patrick Crusius, who targeted a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas, with a substantially Hispanic customer base.
The manifesto, closely parallels – and in some cases duplicates – language from New Zealand mosque shooter Brenton Tarrant’s 2019 manifesto. Gendron also mimicked Tarrant by writing racist messages on his firearm.
Gendron is not a member of a particular white supremacist group, but name-checks and applauds other white supremacist “ethno-soldiers” like John Earnest, Robert Bowers and Dylann Roof, who murdered congregants at synagogues in Poway, California and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and at a historically Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, respectively. Like the other murderers he admired, Gendron appears to have acted entirely alone, choosing a so-called “soft target” and using a firearm, presumably with the goal of “achieving” the highest possible number of casualties.
Gendron appears to have been radicalized in the last two years, with a focus on white supremacist rhetoric and lone-wolf style attacks. He is also virulently antisemitic; the manifesto advocates for a war between Jews and non-Jews.
“We outnumber them 100x, and they are not strong by themselves,” he wrote. “But by their Jewish ways, they turn us against each other. When you realize this you will know that the Jews are the biggest problem the Western world has ever had. They must be called out and killed, if they are lucky they will be exiled. We can not show any sympathy towards them again.”
Gendron’s choice to stream the shooting on Twitch was also seemingly strategic. In the manifesto, he allegedly writes that another attack was streamed on Twitch for about 35 minutes, “which for me shows that there is enough time to capture everything important.” The attack Gendron is referring to here is the 2019 Halle Synagogue Shooting in Germany.
This is a breaking story, and the ADL Center on Extremism is monitoring closely. We will provide updates as we learn more information.