The suspect is in custody in the shooting, which occurred Saturday afternoon at a Tops Friendly Markets store.
Investigators are reviewing a purported manifesto posted online in connection with the mass shooting, two federal law enforcement officials told CNN.
The shooting is being investigated as a hate crime and the FBI is assisting, said Stephen Belongia, special agent in charge of the FBI Buffalo field office, at the news conference.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia identified the shooter as an 18-year-old White male who is not from the Buffalo area but “from hours away.” Officials have so far not named him.
The suspect drove to Buffalo to the Tops market heavily armed, wearing tactical gear, and had a camera where he was livestreaming what he was doing, Gramaglia said.
He shot four people in the parking lot of the market, Gramaglia said. Three of those individuals died and one survived, Gramaglia added.
He will be arraigned on charge of murder in first degree Saturday evening, said Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn.
The killing spree in Buffalo is yet another entry to America’s growing list of hate-fueled mass shootings.
Experts consider easy access to guns a root cause of the violence, and open-carry states lower the barrier for people to own and carry guns in public. But the spike in violence since summer 2020 has been general, across cities and states with lax and strict gun laws, with progressive and conservative prosecutors, as well as Republican and Democratic mayors and governors.
‘This is our worst update’
The suspect walked into the market and began shooting at customers in the store, Gramaglia said.
A supermarket security guard, a retired Buffalo Police officer, “fired multiple shots at the suspect,” but the suspect’s tactical gear protected him from the officer’s shots, Gramaglia said.
The suspect fatally shot the security officer and continued going through the supermarket, working toward the front of the store, where he encountered Buffalo police officers.
The suspect put his gun to his own neck, at which point two Buffalo officers talked him into dropping his gun and then took off some of his tactical gear and surrendered to police, officials said. Police arrested the suspect and transported him to Buffalo police headquarters.
“This is the worst nightmare that any community can face, and we are hurting and we are seething right now as a community,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said. “The depth of pain that families are feeling and that all of us are feeling right now cannot even be explained.”
Tops Friendly Markets released a statement following the shooting, saying it’s “shocked and deeply saddened.”
“We appreciate the quick response by local law enforcement and are providing all available resources to assist authorities in the ongoing investigation,” the statement said.
CNN’s Sabrina Shulman and Peter Nickeas contributed to this report.