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Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Saturday night that the Department of Justice is investigating the Buffalo mass shooting as a “hate crime and an act of racially-motivated violent extremism.”
Garland’s statement comes in response to a mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York grocery store where an 18-year-old is alleged to have shot 13 people, killing 10 of them.
The alleged gunman has been identified as Payton Gendron, 18, of Conklin, New York, according to the Associated Press.
He is being charged with first-degree murder, and pleaded not guilty on Saturday evening, according to WKBW.
Garland said that the Justice Department is investigating the matter as a hate crime.
“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,” Garland said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
According to officials, the shooter traveled from “hours” outside of Buffalo. The shooting happened at Tops Friendly Markets on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo.
The shooter allegedly live-streamed the incident on social media, but it was quickly taken down.