President Biden visits Buffalo, meets victims’ families following Tops Market attack

The FBI is calling Payton Gendron's alleged attack 'racially motivated violent extremism'

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President Biden arrived in Buffalo, New York, Tuesday morning to pay his respects to the victims of what investigators are calling a hate-fueled mass shooting in a predominantly Black neighborhood that left 10 dead and three wounded over the weekend – then delivered remarks after meeting with the families.

The president described each of the victims and condemned the alleged gunman’s suspected White supremacist ideology, calling it "a poison running through our body politic."

"In America, evil will not win, I promise you," Biden said. "Hate will not prevail. White supremacy will not have the last word. Evil did come to Buffalo. It has come to too many places."

His remarks came after he and first lady Jill Biden visited the City of Good Neighbors to pay their respects to the Tops Friendly Market victims and the law enforcement officers who arrived to stop and arrest 18-year-old Payton Gendron before he could wreak more havoc in what began as an attack livestreamed on Twitch.

U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden look at a memorial in the wake of a weekend shooting at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, U.S. May 17, 2022.  

U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden look at a memorial in the wake of a weekend shooting at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, U.S. May 17, 2022.   (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

Gendron allegedly wore a camera glued to his helmet and carried an AR-15 rifle into the store, opening fire on innocent victims -- and exchanging gunfire with an armed security guard, former Buffalo Police Officer Aaron Salter, who died in the attack.

Biden also asked Congress to enact stiffer gun control measures, although the weapon used in the crime was allegedly modified in violation of New York state's strict SAFE Act and equipped with a 30-round magazine.

"We can keep assault weapons off our streets," Biden said. "We’ve done it before."

BUFFALO SHOOTING SURVIVOR RECOUNTS HARROWING ESCAPE AFTER WITNESSING START OF 'HATE'-FUELED ATTACK

The president condemned the attack, which he called terrorism, and called on Americans to reject such hate. 

"May the souls of the fallen rest in peace and rise in glory, and may God guide the United States of America now and always."

The president’s motorcade arrived at the Tops Friendly Market on Jefferson Avenue around 10 a.m. Biden and first lady Jill Biden approached a makeshift memorial on Landon Street carrying flowers.

Payton S. Gendron 

Payton S. Gendron  ((Erie County DA / AP Photo))

They spent about 10 minutes there before departing to meet with families of the victims and responding officers at a nearby community center. Gathered local residents cheered the president’s armored limousine as it left the parking lot.

FBI Director Christopher Wray has called the attack "a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism." Federal authorities are investigating the case as well as local police – and the alleged gunman will face charges in both state and federal courts.

Ten people were shot and killed. Three other people were injured. Eleven of the victims were Black individuals, officials have said. 

People pay their respects outside the scene of a shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., Sunday, May 15, 2022. 

People pay their respects outside the scene of a shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., Sunday, May 15, 2022.  (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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The deceased victims have been identified as: 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; and Ruth Whitfield, 86.

Three injured survivors were identified as Zaire Goodman, 20, of Buffalo, Jennifer Warrington, 50, of Tonawanda, and Christopher Braden, 55, of Lackawanna.

Gendron was charged with first-degree murder. He was arraigned late Saturday and pleaded not guilty. He was ordered held without bail and is due back in court on Thursday.