State Watch

Manager says suspect was asked to leave Buffalo supermarket one day before shooting

People gather outside a supermarket
Associated Press/Matt Rourke
People gather outside the scene of a shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., on Sunday, May 15, 2022.

A manager at the Buffalo, N.Y., Tops supermarket that was the target of Saturday’s mass shooting said he asked Payton Gendron, the suspect, to leave the location the day before. 

Shonnell Harris Teague, an operations manager at Tops, told ABC News on Monday that she spotted the 18-year-old sitting on a bench outside the supermarket for more than an hour on Friday dressed in the same camouflage outfit he had on during the shooting. 

Teague said that she asked Gendron to leave due to complaints from regular shoppers, adding that he did leave without no incident. 

The next day, during the shooting, which left 10 dead, Teague told ABC News that she escaped through the back door of the supermarket when she saw Gendron again, calling the scenario a “nightmare.” 

“I see him with his gear on and his gun and how it was all strapped on. … I seen all the other bodies on the ground. … It was just a nightmare,” she said. 

Authorities recently said they will investigate the Buffalo shooting as a hate crime, noting that Gendron targeted Black customers and employees at the supermarket.

Gendron, a resident of Conklin, N.Y., has so far been charged with one count of first-degree murder in connection with the mass shooting Saturday.

The attack raises questions and concerns about racially motivated domestic terrorist attacks in the U.S. 

Buffalo Police Department Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said that Gendron would’ve continued on with his rampage if he hadn’t been stopped, ABC News noted. 

“We have uncovered information that if he escaped the [Tops] supermarket, he had plans to continue his attack,” Gramaglia said. “He had plans to continue driving down Jefferson Ave. to shoot more Black people … possibly go to another store [or] location.”

Tags Buffalo Buffalo shooting buffalo shooting hate crimes Hate crimes mass shooting New York Payton Gendron payton gendron Tops Grocery Store Tops Grocery Store Tops Supermarket

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