Officials said the gunman livestreamed the shooting on Twitch, a site owned by Amazon and popular among video gamers, and the platform said it took the channel offline within two minutes of the attack starting, according to the New York Times.
“We are devastated to hear about the shooting that took place this afternoon in Buffalo, New York. Our hearts go out to the community impacted by this tragedy,” Twitch said in a statement to News 4 Buffalo. “Twitch has a zero-tolerance policy against violence of any kind and works swiftly to respond to all incidents,” the statement added. “The user has been indefinitely suspended from our service, and we are taking all appropriate action, including monitoring for any accounts rebroadcasting this content.”
Police identified the suspect as 18-year-old Payton Gendron, a white male who drove from “hours away” to wreak havoc in a predominantly black neighborhood. Eleven of the victims were black and two were white in what Stephen Belongia, a special agent in charge of the FBI’s Buffalo field office, said was being investigated both as a hate crime and a “case of racially motivated violent extremism,” the New York Times reported.
A 180-page manifesto posted online by someone claiming to be Gendron and taking credit for the attack is being examined by investigators, federal law enforcement officials told CNN.
Gendron was arraigned before Buffalo City Court Chief Judge Craig Hannah on Saturday on one count of first-degree murder, according to a press release from Erie County District Attorney John Flynn. A felony hearing is scheduled for Gendron on May 19, and he has been remanded without bail. If found guilty, Gendron faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole. Gendron pleaded not guilty during his arraignment.
“This is a tragic day in the City of Buffalo. This defendant is accused of traveling to our area and targeting innocent people who were shopping for their groceries on a Saturday afternoon. I continue to pray for all affected by this horrific crime. I am committed to obtaining justice for the victims, their families and this community. My office is working closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our partners in law enforcement into potential terrorism and hate crimes. This is an active investigation and additional charges may be filed,” said Flynn.