Buffalo’s police commissioner says the white gunman accused of a racist rampage at a supermarket planned to keep killing people if he had escaped the scene.
Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia spoke to CNN on Monday, while authorities investigated the massacre of 10 Black shoppers and workers as a potential federal hate crime or act of domestic terrorism. Gramiglia says the gunman even talked about shooting up another store.
“If not for quick response of the Buffalo Police Department, he certainly would have killed more people in this immediate area,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told CBS This Morning on Monday.
One of those killed was Ruth Whitfield, 86. She is the mother of the city’s retired fire commissioner, Garnell Whitfield.
“We are in a place we never expected to be. My mother was the glue that held us together,” Whitfield said.
The accused gunman, 18, ultimately surrendered to police who confronted him in the supermarket’s vestibule. He pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges. He’s also likely to face federal hate crime and domestic terror charges.
Investigators say he specifically targeted the store in a predominantly black community because he wanted to kill as many black people as possible.
Investigators say the suspect plotted this attack over several months and they’re examining a 180-page document he posted online describing himself as a “white supremist” and “anti-Semite.”
New York state officials also said he had threatened a shooting at his high school last year.
“The individual was brought in for mental health evaluation, he was evaluated and then he was released,” Gramaglia said.
The suspect’s next court appearance is Thursday.
The Associated Press and CBS News contributed to this report.