Return to Transcripts main page
Ten People Killed In Buffalo Supermarket Shooting; FBI: Buffalo Mass Shooting Being Investigated As Hate Crime. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired May 14, 2022 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: We're following breaking news out of western New York. An 18-year-old man opened fire at a Buffalo supermarket just hours ago, killing 10 people and wounding three others, in what police call a racially motivated attack. Police say a security guard fired a shot to try to stop the gunman but the suspect came prepared.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH GRAMAGLIA, BUFFALO, NEW YORK POLICE COMMISSIONER: He was very heavily armed. He had tactical gear. He had a tactical helmet on. He had a camera that he was live streaming what he was doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: CNN's Athena Jones joins me now.
Athena, the Erie County district attorney says he plans to prosecute the shooter on first-degree murder charges and says the shooting was racially motivated. What more do we know?
ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Pamela. It's truly chilling and of course more details are going to be coming in but those 10 people shot and killed at this Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York. This is a majority black neighborhood and this is a white male suspect, 18 years old who authorities say drove from hours away. We're not exactly sure how far.
But this person was not from Buffalo, came in to Buffalo, came to this supermarket, and fired all these shots killing people. We also have heard there that this suspect was live streaming the shooting while it was going on. That he was heavily armed.
Here is more from Erie County Sheriff John Garcia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF JOHN GARCIA, ERIE COUNTY, NEW YORK: This was pure evil. It was straight up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community, outside of the city of good neighbors, as the mayor said, coming into our community and trying to inflict that evil upon us. I urge everyone to stay calm and we are there to protect the citizens
of Erie County, in Buffalo. And we'll be out there along with the City of Buffalo Police Department and patrolling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: So a remarkable statement from the area county sheriff saying that look, they already know, they already have a sense of what the motivation was for this shooting. And that means that they have evidence. That evidence should become clear over time. This suspect is now at any moment going to be arraigned, as you said Pamela, on first- degree murder charges.
We also know that there's a purported manifesto posted online in connection with this incident. We hope to learn more about that as well. And already the NAACP in responding to the fact that this is racially motivated putting out a statement calling this, saying hate and racism have no place in America. We are shattered, extremely angered and praying for the victim's families and loved ones.
We're hearing from some witnesses on the scene, at this point so much is unclear but we know from several that dozens of shots were heard. We also know from authorities from that press conference that a security guard on site who had been a retired Buffalo Police Department officer did engage with this suspect. But the suspect was heavily armed, firing back at the security guard, and ended up killing the security guard.
The suspect -- the security guard firing on the suspect but couldn't get through the armor. So this certainly appears to be very much a planned-out attack. And it's reminiscent of one we saw in El Paso. You may remember back in 2019 when a young white male, in this case was 21 years old, drove some 650 miles from the Dallas area out to El Paso. That person said he was targeting I believe it was Mexicans.
So very chilling to know that, you know, these are 10 people who went to the supermarket, like anyone does on an ordinary Saturday to get their shopping done and now they've lost their lives. Of course the focus is going to turn at some point to guns and gun control.
But I also think it's important to know that this is taking place in an environment where there's a lot of resistance to the recognition that there are still a problem of racism and prejudice in this country.
A lot of talk about how we don't need to teach children about systemic racism and that sort of thing. So it'll be interesting to see what we learn more about this suspect, his name, how far he traveled, and what sorts of things may have radicalized him, may have led him to want to carry out this sort of horrendous act, killing, you know, 10 people in a supermarket hours from his home on an ordinary Saturday -- Pamela.
BROWN: Yes. I mean, it's just -- it's hard to even wrap your head around to comprehend this. And you make a really point and the FBI director, Director Christopher Wray has said that racially motivated violent extremism is the biggest bucket within domestic terrorism in the United States. It is an ongoing concern and this is a prime example of why that is.
Athena Jones, thank you so much.
And right now police aren't sharing much information about the suspect. We do not know his name but they do say he is a white male, 18 years old, and sources say that he posted a manifesto online that could offer insight into his state of mind.
Our Shimon Prokupecz is following this angle.
You know, Shimon, you have been reporting on this manifesto. This is clearly a key piece of evidence for investigators. Do we know what more was in it?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's one of the main pieces of information for motivation. What they're finding is that there's a lot of information in this manifesto that goes to motivation, that goes to inspiration as to who, perhaps, inspired him. Information that he has been reviewing about previous mass shootings. Things that he was using as a way to motivate him and perhaps inspire him to allegedly conduct this horrific attack.
You know, the FBI you say you mentioned about this threat of certainly what they referred to as sort of this racially motivated violent extremism. What the FBI has talked so much about is the threat concerning white supremacy. This superiority of the white race.
And certainly there are indications from people I've been talked to that that is in fact the case here. The majority of the victims here are black and some of what's in this manifesto talks about that.
So that is something that the FBI has and they've been reviewing. And that's why we're seeing them come out so quickly and say we believe that this was a hate crime. We believe that this was racially motivated, violent extremism attack. And that's what's so significant here.
BROWN: Right. Because just for context, the FBI typically does not do that. Usually the FBI is very cautious. They may say something like there are indications and so forth, but officials across the board, federal and local, really came out strongly saying this was racially motivated.
PROKUPECZ: Yes. You can, you know, there's a lot of anger there, right. There's a lot of frustration and a lot of sadness. You could see that in officials' response to what's happened here. And this is a threat that we've been hearing about so much in this country. And we've been seeing it play out in various ways. And so I think coming out so quickly, I think they've learned their lesson, you know.
We covered the hostage situation of a synagogue and the FBI kind of, sort of came out in the beginning when they were finally releasing the information, didn't come out and specifically talk about the motivation. And they took a lot of heat for that. I think in this situation you're seeing a united front here from the Department of Justice to the FBI.
PROKUPECZ: To the local authorities, who gave so much information, because they really can't hide. It's all out there. And this information is out there online. He live streamed this.
PROKUPECZ: He posted what they believe is a manifesto. So all of this information is out there. And they know that we have all seen it by now and people who are watching have seen it so there's no reason to hide behind what they believe may have motivated this individual. And certainly we're going to learn more, you know, the gun issue here.
This is something that the FBI has talked about and the Department of Homeland Security that there's concern with the access to guns for people who feel this way and want to act on these feelings and are motivated or inspired by previous horrific acts all across the world that they're going to have access to weapons and perhaps act on it.
And the fact that this individual is only 18 years old is so significant also and I think in the coming days we're going to learn more about this individual. You know, you're seeing law enforcements saying, look, we don't want this person's name out there. And part of that is because people look at other shooters, other people who have committed such horrific attacks, and they use that as inspiration and as motivation.
PROKUPECZ: You know, we know this. And that's always the concern here. So for this community, this is going to be horrific. The fact that this individual drove the hours, targeting this community specifically. That's going to be a key piece of information. And for the people there. I mean, you talk about a security guard who was known to law enforcement as a former police officer from the neighborhood.
You're talking about people who were shopping, the workers, grocery store workers. Sadly, I've covered other grocery store shootings. And it's always so difficult for these communities because people are just going in to buy food and groceries.
BROWN: Which we all do, right, on a weekend.
PROKUPECZ: We all do. And everyone is facing different difficulties and battles in their lives right now. They should feel safe to go to the supermarket and buy groceries.
PROKUPECZ: And so that's going to be -- it's going to be a horrific few days. I'm heading down to Buffalo tonight. And I just -- I'm going to feel for this community. It's going to be horrific to be there and to see them go through this. But the FBI is I think -- this is big concern for them. You mentioned
this is the number -- one of the number one concerns for the FBI in terms of the domestic terrorism, this kind of violence of people who are inspired or motivated by, you know, belief of some kind of supremacy, this racially motivated crime, something that the FBI director has talked, and Homeland Security. And, you know, they've done studies on this and they're saying that this is going to continue to be a problem.
And part of it is because of guns. And so they say that, right. It's not me saying it. This is, you know, law enforcement officials who are studying these issue that are saying this. This is something that we need to be concerned about.
PROKUPECZ: And this is what we see sadly play out here.
BROWN: I remember, I think it was, if my memory serves me correct, it was summer of last year where the White House released a report on domestic terrorism, white supremacy. It clearly is a big priority, a big concern for DHS and for DOJ.
And of course, you know, right now investigators they have the suspect in custody but the concern as we look forward is that others with similar mind, right, like-minded people who may be consuming the same horrific information or propaganda, whatever it may be, and may want to follow suit. That is always the concern.
PROKUPECZ: That is always the concern. And that is certainly going to be the concern with this shooting. And, you know, the fact that the alleged gunman here lived and wasn't able to take his own life as it seems he wanted to, that's going to be significant as well for law enforcement, I think.
PROKUPECZ: And perhaps he's cooperating and perhaps he's providing some information. But they don't need him to. They have a lot of information. They have the live streams. They have what they believe is his manifesto. And I'm sure once they go through his computers and his cell phone and all of his writings and whatever he may have done to research this attack and once we learn how he went about getting the weapons, it's going to be more troubling.
BROWN: Yes. You're absolutely right.
PROKUPECZ: And we have to think about his family. He has a family, the gunman in the sense, and what information they're going to be able to provide. Because, you know, having covered so many of these, we always learn that someone knew something. Someone saw something.
BROWN: There was a red flag along the way. PROKUPECZ: There's nothing to say that that's the case here but I
certainly think that is something that the FBI and the police there are going to want know and certainly are probably already talking to his family.
BROWN: And also, you know, whether they, you know, did anyone reach out to authorities for all those things, those missed clues along the way. All of this is going to be part of the investigation.
Shimon, thank you so much. We'll be right back.
BROWN: Ten people are dead after a mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. The suspect is an 18-year-old man who police say drove from another part of New York state before opening fire with an assault rifle.
Let's bring in senior CNN legal analyst Elie Honig.
Elie, you're a former state and federal prosecutor. Do you expect there to be federal charges?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: So, Pam, yes. It's important to know that legally and constitutionally you can have both federal charges and state charges at the same time for the same crime. We've actually seen this happen recently with the murder of Ahmad Arbery. There were state charges down in Georgia and there were federal charges out of DOJ. So yes, we could absolutely see federal charges.
We know that federal agencies, the FBI and others, are involved. The way we will see federal charges here is if there is a hate crime. If it can be proven that one of the main motivations behind this shooting was racial hatred, racial bias. So that's what the feds are going to be looking for. If they can link this to a racial motive then we could have federal charges on top of the state charges that reportedly already have been lodged.
BROWN: And it seems like they already have. I mean, they came out at the press conference and did not mince words. They were very direct saying that this was racially motivated. You would think that they had clear cut evidence to back up such a statement, right?
HONIG: Yes, you would hope that prosecutors are careful enough not to make those statements unless they are confident that they have clear evidence of that. Now mistakes do sometimes get made in the initial hours after an event. But yes, when I heard those statements from the spokespeople, that's what I thought.
I thought, well, they're looking at potential hate crimes. There are state hate crimes in New York as well, but as soon as I heard hate crimes, I thought OK, there's the federal hook because an ordinary murder is not chargeable federally. You need what we call a federal hook, some basis for federal jurisdiction and a hate crime can give you that. So as soon as I heard that, I thought, OK, look for federal charges down the line as well.
BROWN: Right. Because he drove from within the state, so you don't have the interstate issue to give it the federal link. But you do have, according to officials, the potential hate crime link. And I am curious if you think there could be an insanity defense.
We know that there is this manifesto out there that he wrote. And I'm wondering how big of clue this could be, not only for investigators but how it could actually help in a potential insanity defense?
HONIG: Well, so first of all, if there is a manifesto, then you can bet investigators are going to be going through every word of that. Looking for a racial motive, looking for planning, looking for any detail they can get out of it.
Now there is such thing as an insanity defense both under New York state law and under federal law. However, it's important to know, first of all, the defendant has to prove an insanity defense. The burden is not on the prosecutor to disprove insanity.
Second of all, the bar is very high for an insanity defense. Essentially the defendant would have to show that his state of mind was such that he did not even understand or appreciate the nature of his acts, the right or wrong of his acts.
And what you want to do as a prosecutor here is go through the evidence, go through the reported live stream, go through the manifesto. And if you can show careful planning and deliberation and plotting, that is going to really undermine any insanity defense. That's essentially you're hoping as a prosecutor going to overcome and defeat any insanity defense.
BROWN: I just keep thinking, Elie, about the fact this suspect drove several hours away. And must have been thinking about what he was going to do, open fire on a bunch of innocent people at a grocery store on a Saturday.
I mean, the apparent planning, based on what we know, the facts that we know based on what we have gathered at the scene and also what officials say certainly seems to indicate a pretty deep level of planning and premeditation.
Do you think that prosecutors will go for the death penalty?
HONIG: Well, so there is no death penalty in the state of New York. Apparently the charge here is going to be first-degree murder which is punishable in New York state by up to life with no parole. There is no death penalty in the state of New York. Now it's a little complicated on the federal side.
There is still a federal death penalty. However, the Biden administration has imposed a moratorium on the death penalty, meaning they're not actually putting people who have been sentenced to death to death. So this will be a decision the DOJ is going to have to make. BROWN: Yes. Yes. And that's what I was talking about. The federal
You know, if it turns out that other people knew about his plans or helped him, could they be charged or held legally responsible? We know in cases like this investigators often go to close friends, family members, trying to figure out what they knew and if of course they had any involvement in this.
HONIG: Absolutely. This is one of the main things you're looking at here if you're an investigator or a prosecutor. If somebody helped this individual, they can be charged as an accessory. They can be charged with aiding and abetting.
And Pam, you'll remember within the last several months there was a horrible mass shooting in Michigan and the parents of that shooter were charged with aiding and abetting, with assisting, with accessory. So yes, anyone who may have helped this person, knowing what he was doing, of course, or helped him along, given him aid, any type of assistance, those people or that person could be charged with aiding and abetting or with accessory as well. So this is surely one of the main thing that prosecutors and investigators are looking at right now.
BROWN: All right. Elie Honig, thank you so much for that.
HONIG: Thanks, Pam.
BROWN: You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. We continue to follow the breaking news in Buffalo. Police saying 10 people are dead, three are wounded at a shooting at a grocery store. Much more, ahead.
BROWN: Welcome back to the CNN NEWSROOM. We're following breaking news out of Buffalo, New York. Authorities say an 18-year-old man opened fire in a supermarket, killing 10 people before he was taken into custody. New York Governor Kathy Hochul is expected to give a live update on the shooting any moment now. We're going to of course bring that to you live as soon as it happens.
And meantime, investigators are looking into an online manifesto that could provide insight into the shooter's state of mind.
CNN's Athena Jones joins me now. So what is the latest on this, Athena?
JONES: Hi, Pamela. Well, we're still waiting to learn more about that manifesto. But we do know that law enforcement has already determined what they believe the motive is for the shooting. This was an 18-year- old white male suspect who came from out of the city of Buffalo and ended up shooting 10 people in a supermarket in a majority black neighborhood.
Listen to how the Mayor Byron Brown spoke about this incident.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR BYRON BROWN, BUFFALO, NEW YORK: The shooter was not from this community. In fact, the shooter traveled hours from outside this community to perpetrate this crime on the people of Buffalo a day when people were enjoying the sunshine, enjoying family, enjoying friends, all manner of happy activities. People in a supermarket shopping, and bullets raining down on them. People's lives being snuffed out in an instant for no reason.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: And so there you hear the mayor of Buffalo describing a horrific scene. And it really is chilling when you think about, you know, almost everyone has been to a grocery store or go to grocery stores normally on the weekends. And you go and you end up in this terrible scenario.
We also heard from the Erie County Sheriff John Garcia who said he called this pure evil. He said this was pure evil. It was straight-up racially motivated hate crime. And so it is being investigated as a hate crime and an incident of racially motivated violent extremism. We know the FBI is part of this investigation along with all of the local and state officials.
And this shooter, we know, not only drove from hours away. We're waiting to find out exactly where he drove in to Buffalo from. He was heavily armed. He had tactical gear, he had a tactical helmet, he had a camera.
He live-streamed this shooting over the streaming platform Twitch as it was happening. We know that at one point he engaged with security officer on the scene. That security officer was a retired Buffalo police officer.
Unfortunately that security officer tried to shoot the suspect but because he was so heavily armed and heavily protected, that that bullet didn't pierce that armor. Instead the suspect ended up shooting and killing the security guard.
This suspect arriving on the scene and really starting to shoot almost immediately. Shooting four people there right in the parking lot before entering the grocery store. Now according to some witnesses we know -- we understand that the suspect went into the grocery store, began shooting people, went to the back, eventually came back to the front. Police arrived within about two minutes.
At that point the suspect put the gun to his neck. Law enforcement was able to talk him down from that -- talk him into putting the gun down and took him into custody.
But it is very interesting to know or to see and to hear that they already feel that they have a good sense of this suspect's motivation and that is because of the evidence they've seen, whether it is this manifesto or other evidence that may be coming out and be reportable in the coming hours and days.
But just very, very concerning here. Of course, the focus will shift to things like gun control and concerns about racially motivated violence, which we know is a top concern of Federal law enforcement officials.
And as you know, Pamela, this is not the first-time period, it's not the first time just in the last few years.
In 2019, a gunman traveled hundreds of miles from the Dallas area to El Paso, Texas, to target Mexicans at an El Paso, Walmart. And then before that, I think it was 2015, you have that incident with Dylann Roof in Charleston, South Carolina, where he shot and killed nine people at the Mother Emanuel AME Church.
So this is not a new problem, but certainly a concerning one.
BROWN: Yes, again, just to remind our viewers, officials are saying this was racially motivated, calling it a hate crime. The suspect was an 18-year-old White male. The majority of the victims here are Black.
This is a predominantly Black neighborhood, and like you said at the beginning, Athena, people just go into the grocery store on a Saturday. It's something we all do, and they were targeted according to officials because of the color of their skin. It is absolutely horrific, disgusting, and we will continue to cover this story all night long for you.
Athena, thank you so much.
I want to bring in CNN law enforcement analyst, Anthony Barksdale.
Anthony, so there are so many aspects of this, right. But of course, one of this -- one key aspect is the fact that the police say the shooter was livestreaming the attack, that the shooter had a camera attached to his helmet, according to police.
What do you make of that?
ANTHONY BARKSDALE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I think that that is crucial evidence in this tragedy. If he self-documented his behavior to take innocent lives in a supermarket, innocent Black lives in a supermarket, then use that as documentation to get prosecution and get him out of our society because he just does not belong based on what he has done.
BROWN: I can tell you're feeling a lot of emotion right now, Anthony.
BARKSDALE: You get tired of it. You get tired of it. And it's just -- it is incident after incident here in the U.S., and we talk about it and it's still going, and I heard Chief Ramsey on earlier saying it's not going to stop and we have to do something.
BROWN: Yes. You're right. I mean, we have this conversation over and over and over again. It's sort of like, here we go again. And another day, at least 10 innocent people lost their lives for absolutely no reason, for going to the grocery store on a Saturday.
It is -- you can't comprehend it, and you think about the suspect, 18 years old, livestreamed this and also had this Manifesto that he published online. What kind of insight can this give us?
BARKSDALE: Oh, it can show state of mind. You need -- you need evidence. I do believe that you have to be sure that everything is as solid as possible during this investigation before passing it on for prosecution.
The Manifesto is going to be crucial. The video is crucial to prosecution. So, I'm sure the defense, whoever will defend this individual is going to try to figure out some way to wiggle out of this. But all of this self-documentation is exactly what law enforcement and prosecutors, the DA, the United States Attorney, it is exactly what you need for a good case.
BROWN: Well, and you know, I was just talking to Elie Honig earlier in the show about you know, the possible insanity defense, but there is so much evidence that already works against that that we know about, right?
The fact that this shooter had all of this tactical gear on, bulletproof tactical gear, had this helmet with the camera, and that the shooter drove hours away and I keep thinking about this like, you know, when you're in the car and you're driving for a while like he was driving with apparently according to officials from what they have described with an intent, with a motivation.
BROWN: With a mission, it seems to kill people based on the color of their skin. It is several hours of driving, to think about what he was going to do.
BARKSDALE: Yes, so clearly, we know his intentions. He, unfortunately was able to carry out the act. I keep hearing about the security officer who was a former police officer that tried to stop him. This individual is coming in with bullet resistant gear on and it leaves that security officer tried.
But you have to think of the people that are inside this location and how fast this can occur. Even if the police got there in a minute and a half or two minutes, 10 people are dead. We need to understand how fast we can lose human lives when weapons wind up in the wrong hands.
BROWN: Yes, no, you're right. And as we're speaking, you can just picture all the family members of those 10 victims crying right now, grieving, feeling an unimaginable pain having lost their loved one today in this senseless act of violence.
Anthony Barksdale, thank you so much.
We'll be right back (COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:41:12]
BROWN: We are hearing from some of the people who witnessed the shooting in Buffalo. Here is how one man described the attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRADY LEWIS, SHOOTING EYEWITNESS: From what I saw, I just left off the store and I stopped here and I started to drink my juice and I heard a gunshot that I knew was a gunshot and not a firecracker, so I looked up and I am seeing smoke.
Then I'd seen a guy in a full army suit. He is shooting shots at people and I'd seen the security guard run in the store, and then I'd seen the guy go in Army style, bent over just shooting at people and I heard him shooting at people and then I saw three people laying down.
And I didn't have a phone on me, so I was just screaming for somebody to call the police and then he came out. He put the gun to his head to his chin, then he dropped it and he took off his little crew vest. And then he got on his hands and knees and put his hands behind his back and then they arrested him.
It is a shame because there was a lot of people in there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just like seeing all of that like, what was going through your mind?
LEWIS: I still don't even believe it happened, actually that a person was going into a supermarket full of people, we have a lot in there, I know some of the other women in there. One woman just had a baby. So, hopefully they're okay.
But it's a shame that something has to happen, because this is ridiculous. This just ridiculous.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I am hearing like it is a White guy with a camera.
LEWIS: It was a White guy and he was fully prepared, ready to go. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had a --
LEWIS: Yes, it was a White guy. Full army suit prepared and ready.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And (INAUDIBLE). How long did it take for police to (INAUDIBLE).
LEWIS: It took the police about two minutes. A minute and 30 seconds actually. That was pretty much it. It took them about two minutes, they got here, and they stood and watched him. I thought there was a little shooting, but they didn't shoot him. But yes, like I said he got on the ground and surrendered himself.
I heard from people over there that he had other rifles in his car, but I don't really know.
QUESTION: How many shots did you hear?
LEWIS: I heard at first and saw seven or eight gun smoke shots. And now, when he went inside, I heard at least 20 or so shots, but I couldn't really tell because I was yelling and screaming myself for somebody to call the police.
So he went in there shooting, went in shooting and then ready. I don't know what the problem was. But it was horrible, actually. It was really horrible.
I'm still kind of shooken up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know (INAUDIBLE) and you heard some screams (INAUDIBLE).
LEWIS: The gunshots was kind of loud. I really didn't hear no screams because the gunshots were shooting were really loud.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard like he was also shooting outside the -- and then went inside.
LEWIS: Yes, he shot outside first. The security guard ran inside. That's why I'm looking like what's going on? I'm thinking it is a play actually because I don't believe that that stuff happens for real. Then I've seen him go down and I've seen him do this. I'm like well that's real.
Because he had the glasses on, the brown --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You saw people coming out, too when he was --
LEWIS: No, people were running that were sitting down at the chair over there, people were running the other way. So, I didn't see that. I did see him going to the store because you can see a little bit from over here, I just see him going like this shooting at people.
So hopefully, not too many people passed away in there, but I guess we'll find out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I guess, we will see what the scenario (INAUDIBLE).
LEWIS: Well, it has to go to the educational system. That's a fire back. That will go just for people not to harm other people, but something has to be wrong with you to go -- that you want to harm somebody else. A lot of miserable people out here.
I don't know what they do to people in the Army, but something has to be done. Something really has to be done. It is not taking the guns away from people. It's the people learning how to deal with guns and issues and how to solve issues here in America besides killing people, innocent people, people shopping on a Saturday -- a Saturday afternoon. It is a beautiful day. So, it is -- I can't even really even get into it how horrible this is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
We have new video of the Buffalo shooting suspect in Court being arraigned just coming in to CNN.
CNN law enforcement analyst, Anthony Barksdale and senior of CNN legal analyst Elie Honig, they are standing by to give their analysis and we'll be right back with more.
GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D-NY): ... humanly possible in the very near term.
It's hard to know what to say. This is my community. I know this community well. I've walked the streets. I know the individuals who live here. It is a wonderful tight-knit neighborhood and to see that sense of security shattered by an individual, a White supremacist who has engaged in an act of terrorism and will be prosecuted as such in a cold-hearted, cruel, calculating way.
A military style execution targeting people who simply want to buy groceries in a neighborhood store. It strikes us in our very hearts to know that there is such evil that lurks out there.
Yes, I'm here to console the families and a community that is feeling so much pain right now. But mark my words, we will be aggressive in our pursuit of anyone who subscribes the ideals, professed by other White supremacist, and how there's a feeding frenzy on social media platforms where hate festers more hate, that has to stop.
HOCHUL: These outlets must be more vigilant in monitoring social media content, and certainly, the fact that this act of barbarism, this execution of innocent human beings can be livestreamed on social media platforms and not taken down within a second says to me that there is a responsibility out there and we are going to continue to work on this and make sure that those who provide these platforms have a moral and ethical, and I hope to have a legal responsibility to ensure that such hate cannot populate these sites.
Because this is the result when you have individuals who use these platforms and talk to others who share these demented views and support each other, and talk about the techniques that they'll engage in and post these ideas and share them with others in the hope that they can all someday rise up in their demented view of the world.
That's what White supremacist terrorism is all about. That's what we witnessed here today on the streets of Buffalo, New York, and it has to end right here. And that is our message. We will continue to work at the Federal, State and local level, with our community partners to help identify these messages as soon as they arise on social media. That is our best defense right now, as well as the legal system and the prosecution.
And it is my sincere hope that this individual, this White supremacist who just perpetrated a hate crime on an innocent community will spend the rest of his days behind bars and heaven help him in the next world as well.
Yes, I'm angry. I've seen violence from guns on the Brooklyn subway. Now, in the streets of Buffalo, it has to stop. It has to stop.
On Tuesday, in Albany, we had already planned to be announcing a comprehensive gun package to address further loopholes that exist in our laws. We're doing everything we can to ensure that our laws are tight. They're ironclad to ensure that our law enforcement have the resources they need.
That is why I started a gun interdiction taskforce last January, nine states, as well as NYPD have teamed up with us to make sure that we can identify when guns are coming across the border from places like Pennsylvania gun shows and end up in small communities outside Binghamton or in Broome County.
You don't know that that is the source of the modifications made to a gun. We're going to find out. We're going to continue addressing this every single way we can. As an aside, we're also going to be preparing our state for what could be a Supreme Court decision that allows people to carry concealed weapons.
We're ready. This is New York. We're here to protect our people. Thank you.
QUESTION: You mentioned that the subject was from the southern pier. Can you tell us where in the southern tier he is from?
HOCHUL: I know that law enforcement is securing the home right now and getting search warrants. So, I'm not going to disclose the location at this time, but we know where --
QUESTION: Can you tell us the county?
HOCHUL: Broome County.
QUESTION: Broome County.
QUESTION: There have been social media posts from others who are claiming to be involved in this. Any concern that the suspect who is in custody is the only one and any concern in general about other people trying to take credit for these tragedy.
HOCHUL: That is something that always law enforcement has to be aware of in the aftermath, so it is not uncommon that there will be people who will try to take credit or there be copycat situations. But all these leads are being run down and investigated and there is no confirmation at this time. Any one in law enforcement with different --
QUESTION: Wegmans closed their doors for the rest of the evening. What's your message to people that just need to go grocery shopping? Just need to continue living?
HOCHUL: And they will, but let us take this moment to grieve. There is a community out there that has had their hearts ripped open. All of us suffer with them.
There are families that are still finding out that their loved one is not coming home to dinner tonight. People can get their groceries tomorrow.
QUESTION: Governor, there were -- you know, you talked about the social media concern that we all share. Yet, there were social media concerns for this individual prior to today is my understanding. He had stuff online and on social media. Do you have concerns that that wasn't flagged?
HOCHUL: That's what I want to find out, exactly. And the social media platforms that profit from their existence, need to be responsible for monitoring and having surveillance, knowing that they can be, in a sense, an accomplice to a crime like this, perhaps not legally, but morally.
They've created the platform to allow this hate to be spewed and others who are like minded or can be radicalized. People who may not have intended to go down the path, but they read this, it is pervasive. It's among the big lies that are out there.
And we know how insidious it is. We've seen the effects. But particularly the act of livestreaming this, the fact that that can even be hosted on a platform is absolutely shocking and we need to find out what happened and how to make sure it doesn't happen again.
QUESTION: But do you think his social media footprint should have been noticed by law enforcement prior to this?
HOCHUL: Absolutely. These should be monitored by everyone involved, the platform, and law enforcement who monitors literally millions of posts in search of information like this, and this is all part of the inquiry.
QUESTION: Was it one weapon or more than one weapon? And were the weapons legally obtained or not, do we know?
HOCHUL: My understanding is that it was a legally obtained weapon, but it was modified with illegal magazines that could have been acquired anywhere. We're going to find out where they came from, but they're actually for sale legally in the State of Pennsylvania. So it's not that hard to make that modification. But it was -- as modified, it became illegal.
QUESTION: There were reports that the gun that he used had racial epithets, or had maybe, what we call it -- is there any truth to that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, we are not going to comment on that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we're not going to comment at this point.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll take one more.
QUESTION: A lot of people in his community here, predominantly Black community here where this shooting took place are furious, they are angry and they are also cynical about justice coming out of this. How can you assure people in this community that this is going to receive the proper attention and the proper justice because this was racially motivated -- it appears to be a racially motivated crime?
HOCHUL: I will simply tell the residents of this community, this is our community as well. We share that pain.
These are our brothers and sisters, and we are equally outraged. There is no depths of the outrage I'm feeling right now. It is because -- it just goes on and on how I feel right now about what happened at this community.
So they have our commitment, and I understand cynicism, but they have the commitment, every single person here who will stop at nothing to ensure that we do everything we can to ensure that this individual receives the full force of justice, the laws, our District Attorney, is laser focused on this, as well as our law enforcement teams from the Federal, State and local, working tirelessly to find all the evidence to make sure that this case is successfully prosecuted.
That is our commitment to the individuals in this community and they'll see ultimately that'll be the outcome.
QUESTION: John, with the arraignment complete and what were the --
JOHN FLYNN, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, ERIE COUNTY: Yes, justice is already being done immediately. This individual has been arraigned on murder in the first degree, which is the highest charge -- murder charge in New York State. It carries with it a sentence of life without parole. The highest punishment we have in New York State.
He was remanded. The Judge ordered a forensic examination. A felony hearing will now take place in five days, and then the investigation continues.
So, we have taken the appropriate steps right now to get him behind bars and that's what we did. That was justice. Getting that murder first charge filed immediately calling a Judge up and having him come downtown city Court on a Saturday evening to arraign this individual immediately.
Not tomorrow morning, not Monday morning, right now, and therefore as I said we've got a murder first charge already filed against him. We are now investigating terrorism charges, other murder charges along with our partners in the Federal government so that they can perhaps file charges as well.