tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC May 15, 2022 3:30pm-4:00pm PDT
tonight, a special edition of "world news tonight," we're on the scene of that deadly mass shooting at a grocery store here in buffalo, new york. authorities say this was a racist hate crime, and all of this tonight amid breaking news at this hour. reports of yet another mass shooting. this time in california at a church. >> here in buffalo, new york, the 18-year-old suspect charged with murder. accused of killing ten people, all of them were black. tonight, the mayor of buffalo now saying the suspect wanted to take as many black lives as he possibly could. opening fire outside the grocery store. then moving inside. authorities say he planned the attack, driving from about 200 miles away. the 180 page document he posted online, filled with racist and anti-semitic comments. president biden tonight calling
the assault a racially motivated act of white supremacy, describing the suspect as a hate filled soul. we're learning tonight about the victims. 32 to 86 years old including the beloved security guard, a retired police lieutenant working security at the store, confronting the gunman, shooting him, but the gunman had body armor and police say the suspect then killed that guard. stephanie ramos on the scene tonight. >> inside the moments of terror we're now hearing from some of the survivors who were inside the grocery store when the gunshots began. they could hear the shots getting closer. one mother telling me she was shopping with a family member. she ran to find a back exit, he ran to a meat freezer where he hid. our interview right here tonight. >> the hate crime investigation now under way tonight, sources telling abc news racial slurs and the names of previous mass shooters were written on his gun. and his prior history with police. accused of threatening behavior before around his high school graduation.
tonight, you'll hear from his former classmates describing the student they knew. pierre thomas right here in buffalo. >> the other awful story unfolding as we come on the air tonight, news of a shooting at a church in california. reports of multiple victims shot, one person detained. a second major shooting in america this weekend. >> the war in ukraine tonight and what a new report reveals about the scope of russian losses. tonight, finland and now sweden also defying russian threats, closer to joining nato. >> and back here at home tonight, we are tracking severe storms in the next 24 hours. damaging winds and large hail in several states. the system moving to the east coast tomorrow. from washington, d.c. to philadelphia to new york, a special edition of "world news tonight" begins now. >> announcer: from abc news, this is a special edition of "world news tonight" with david muir. reporting tonight from buffalo, new york. and good evening on this sunday night. we begin the week one night
earlier with you because of a simply horrific scene that played out here in buffalo, new york, this weekend. a deadly mass shooting at this grocery store right behind me and now news of another mass shooting tonight, this time at a church in california. we'll have more on that in moment. we begin in buffalo where authorities say this was clearly driven by racist hate. the attack at this busy supermarket on saturday afternoon, ten people shot and killed including several here in the parking lot before the gunman even got inside. the alleged attacker 18 years old, armed with an assault rifle wearing body armor and who investigators say chose this supermarket several hours from his home and he did reconnaissance here the day before the attack. authorities say it all began in the parking lot. he opened fire, one of the victims an elderly woman. a mother inside the store told me late this afternoon she remembered walking past that woman who she went in. when she came out, that woman was lying on the ground.
peyton gendron taking into custody feet from his victims. coming before a judge, charged with one count of murder, other charges including hate crimes are likely to follow. investigators are searching his home, interviewing his parents, combing his social media and some of the chilling details of what they have found already. tonight, in the neighborhood surrounding the supermarket, police are standing guard. it's also a scene of prayer. we're learning the names of the victims, the youngest, 32 years old, roberta drury. the oldest, 86-year-old ruth witfield, the mother of a former buffalo fire commissioner, and the hero security guard, retired buffalo police officer aaron salter. he's credited with saving lives before being shot and killed by the suspect himself. tonight, president biden saying the justice department is investigating this as a hate crime and a racially motivated act of white supremacy and violent extremism. we have learned late tonight president biden will be here on tuesday. we begin tonight with abc's stephanie ramos right here in
buffalo. >> reporter: this is the moment authorities arrested the 18-year-old man they say drove three hours to buffalo to murder innocent people because of their race. calling the attack pure evil. >> this is an absolute racist hate crime. this is someone who has hate in their heart, soul, and mind. >> active shooter at the tops. there's still shots being fired. >> reporter: the horror unfolding around 2:30 saturday afternoon at the tops friendly supermarket, shattering what was a normal day of grocery shopping in the heart of this predominantly black community. >> contact homicide. we have bodies down here. >> reporter: officials say the heavily-armed killer, wearing body armor and a tactical helmet, live-streamed the massacre. first, opening fire on four people in the parking lot, killing three. annette parker and her 9-year-old daughter were walking out of another store just a few feet away from the supermarket when they heard gunshots. >> i just picked her up and we ran. >> reporter: the gunman then entered the store and
methodically shot nine other people. annette and her daughter escaped to safety, later learning a neighbor and her child were inside, with the gunman at one point standing directly behind them. >> he was right behind her. she got out by the grace of god. >> she got out? >> yes, he was right behind her. >> reporter: inside the store, fragrance and her 20-year-old daughter were working the same shift. >> we heard gunshots. everybody in the front stopped moving. we all looked toward the front door. >> reporter: fragrance, running away from the gunman. her daughter, crouched down behind a register, trapped there until police arrived and brought her to safety. >> i turned around and she wasn't there. and i said, "where's my baby? does anyone see my baby? where is she?" i didn't know where she was. >> reporter: retired buffalo police officer aaron salter jr., working as a security guard at the store, confronted the gunman.
>> we saw the security guard backing up and reaching for his weapon. >> reporter: the guard firing multiple shots, hitting the suspect, but even that didn't stop him, because of the body armor he was wearing. the gunman fatally shooting the guard moments later. >> he cared about the community. he looked after the store. he did a good job, you know. he was very nice and respectable. >> reporter: officials saying today the gunman fired about 50 shots, killing 10 people, injuring three more. all of the victims who died were black. president biden today condemning the attack, saying the justice department is investigating it as a "racially motivated act of white supremacy and violent extremism." >> a lone gunman, armed with weapons of war and hate filled soul, shot and killed ten innocent people in cold blood at a grocery store on saturday afternoon. jill and i, like you, pray for the victims and their families,
and a devastated community. >> reporter: and tonight, we're learning new details about the 18-year-old suspect, identified as peyton gendron, seen here in court. >> i understand the charges. >> reporter: charged with one count of first degree murder, he's now behind bars on suicide watch, held without bail. his public defender pleading not guilty for him. officials say gendron drove 200 miles from his home in broome county, new york, to the scene, conducting reconnaissance the day before the attack. investigators searching his home, interviewing his parents, now combing his social media, saying he posted a 180-page hate-filled document laying out his plan to kill. >> this was not by accident. this was a cold, calculated, cruel, i would say military-style execution in furtherance of a white supremacy doctrine. >> and tonight, this community mourning those lives tragically
cut short, including the youngest, 32-year-old roberta drury. her sister amanda telling abc news she moves to buffalo in 2010 to care for her brother who was battling leukemia, saying quote, she was always willing to help and laugh. and 86-year-old ruth witfield, her son garnell, the former fire commissioner, telling abc news his mother stopped by the market to pick up groceries on her way home from visiting her husband in his nursing home. seen together in this photo smiling. the city's mayor telling me he saw garnell in the parking lot frantically looking for his mother. >> my heart absolutely broke and i tried to provide whatever comfort that i could at that time to my friend, to a community leader, and to someone who has served this city honorably and nobly for decades. >> her son saying ruth was all about family.
ad adding, she came from nothing, she didn't have anything, and she rose above it. and she raised us in spite of all that being very poor. she raised us to be productive men and women. >> and stephanie joins us from the scene tonight. with this investigation well under way, i know police believe there are no other suspects at this time, that no one else was involved and they're concerned about extremism across social media. >> exactly, david. authorities believe the suspect who they have in custody acted alone, but they warn this kind of extremism is on the rise, on social media and on other sites where groups and individuals are able to post racist views. david. >> stephanie ramos leading us off tonight, thank you. just a short time ago, i spoke to a young mother who was inside the store when this was playing out. she was there with a family member. her cousin running one way, she ran another. she somehow found a back exit to the store through the deli and
only learned afterwards of her loved one survived this too. he had been hiding in a meat freezer as this unfolded. you were inside the store. >> inside the store, yeah. i walked in, probably i want to say two seconds before he came in. i just got around the corner. then you hear gunshots. so i ran down the aisle, went through, i saw an opening through the deli. and ran through the deli and ran out the back door. >> you were in one aisle and your cousin was in another aisle. >> he went to the left, i went to the right. >> you were looking for an exit. you didn't know where you would find it, but you see the deli. >> i saw the deli and i seen the opening to go in the back of the deli and i just ran behind there and then i ran out the back door and i get to about the middle of the parking lot and you see, oh, god, all the bodies out there. so i continued to run to my car, get my car, call my cousin. he answered the phone, thank you, god. thank you, lord. he was running from the back of the store too. i ran to him, like hugged him.
like thank you, god. >> he had found a hiding place in the store. >> yeah, he hid in the freezer. >> yeah. >> he locked the freezer. once he didn't hear more gunshots, he came out. >> in a meat freezer in the back of the store. >> yes. >> you could hear the gunshots, getting closer? >> right. the first gunshots you hear were far away, and it got closer and closer. then i knew someone was in the store. >> you thought the gunman was coming to the back of the store. >> yes, i thought he was coming. >> when you came back out front and saw the victims in the parking lot, you knew this was going to be -- >> it was crazy. when i went in the store, the lady was standing there. like she was looking down in her purse like she was looking for keys. when i came out and she was right there on the ground with the curtain on top of her, i was like, that could have been me. we was three, i want to say three or four seconds later than we went in that store, me and my cousin would have been on the ground too.
that's how fast it happened once we got in the store. you start hearing the gunshots. >> these were people you had just seen in front of the store. >> yeah, when i walked in they was alive. when i walked out, they was dead. that could have been me. that's all i keep saying, that could have been us. >> the horror so many people witnessed inside and outside this store, and jenny told me she can't stop thinking about that woman she walked past on the way in and finding her lying in the parking lot when she got out. this investigation is fast moving and what they're already learning about the gunman's past, the concern around the time of his high school graduation, and law enforcement and their interaction with him before. here's our chief justice correspondent, pierre thomas, also here in buffalo tonight. >> reporter: tonight, law enforcement sources telling abc news that less than a year ago peyton gendron was taken into custody, accused of threatening behavior around the time of his high school graduation. those sources say that when assigned to write a paper about
his post-graduation plans, he allegedly referenced committing murder-suicide. the school called the state police. >> he was evaluated and then released. >> there was an investigation but no charges were ever filed. today, former classmates describing gendron as quiet and shy. >> quiet, smart kid that i wouldn't think would be able to do anything like what he did yesterday. >> yeah. >> it blows my mind. >> one thing about him did stick out. >> once covid hit, he wasn't ever really at school, other than once right when we came back, he showed up in like a hazmat type suit. >> full hazmat suit. >> what was your reaction to that? >> i mean, everyone was just staring at him. >> still, gendron graduated. his parents both engineers from the state of new york, throwing him a party under a big tent on
the lawn of their home. he enrolled at broome community college. at the same time if his online screed is to be believed, he was planning his attack for years. his young mind consumed with racist anti-semitic and anti-imant anti-immigrant messages he found on the internet. >> this event was committed by a sick, demented individual who was fueled a daily diet of hate. >> in the document, he embraces the white supremacist theory known as the great replacement, believing white people in the u.s. will eventually be replaced by people of color. gendron scoping out a target where he could find and kill black people. acquiring an arsenal. >> one gun a gift from his father, another purchased legally from a store in pennsylvania. the owner of vintage firearms in new york, not far from gendron's home, says he legally sold the 18-year-old a bushmaster semiautomatic rifle used in the
attack just a few months ago. a source telling abc news the killer wrote racist slurs on that gun, as well as the names of previous mass shooters. >> and pierre thomas also here in buffalo tonight. police say the gun used in this attack was purchased legally. then we heard new york governor kathy hochul saying today it was not actually legal when he used it, it had been modified. >> david, the killer used an attachment which allowed his assault rifle to accommodate a high-capacity magazine. in some states, that attachment is legal. in new york, it is not. david. >> pierre thomas with us live here in buffalo. thank you. we have learned tonight president biden planning to come to buffalo on tuesday. today, he spoke about racist driven hate in this country, urging americans to reject extremism. >> we must all work together to address the hate that remains a stain on the soul of america. the hearts are heavy once again, but a resolve must never, ever
waiver. >> so let's get to our chief white house correspondent, cecelia vega with me tonight. you learned just before we came on tonight of this visit to buffalo. >> david, the first lady going as well. the white house says they will be grieving, of course, with that community there at that event. we saw for fallen police officers earlier today, no mention of gun control from the president. you know this, this remains stalled on capitol hill. but in an earlier statement, president biden called this attack hate-fueled domestic terrorism, and top law enforcement officials in this administration say racist violent extremism is the greatest terror threat this country faces. they say it has been metastasizing for years and they say white supremacists are responsible for the most lethal attacks over the past decade. officials have been sounding the alarm on this one, david. their calls have been growing louder, but based on that horror in buffalo, they're still struggling with how to stop it. >> clearly a major concern for the president and for law enforcement. cecelia vega with us tonight.
thank you. and as i mentioned at the top tonight, there's also breaking news as we're on the air of another mass shooting. this one in a church in orange county. reports of one dead, multiple victims shot. zorene shaw is here with the latest. >> david, that's right. the orange county sheriff confirming one person was killed, four critically injured. i want to show you video we just got from the scene. it shows a helicopter landing near the geneva presbyterian church in laguna woods and a large police presence. the orange county sheriff says church members detained one person and authorities have recovered a weapon. obviously, a terrifying incident coming on the heels of that mass shooting in buffalo. and david, we're told multiple agencies are on the ground responding, including the atf and the fbi. david. >> the second mass shooting this weekend alone. thank you. we move to other news this sunday night, and now to the war
in ukraine. evidence russia is facing new setbacks both on and off the battlefield. a stark new assessment from british intelligence estimating russia has likely lost a third of the invasion forces they had sent into ukraine. and finland and sweden tonight making it official, they are applying to join nato now, despite putin's warnings he would retaliate. >> when we come back on this sunday night, we're tracking severe storms, damaging winds and hail in several states. in the east tomorrow, the potential for dangerous storms from d.c. to philadelphia to the new york area. we're back in a moment. for 45 y. i've been taking prevagen on a regular basis for at least eight years. for me, the greatest benefit over the years has been that prevagen seems to help me recall things and also think more clearly. and i enthusiastically recommend prevagen. it has helped me an awful lot. prevagen. healthier brain. better life.
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we're also tracking severe storms tonight in the midwest. possible tornadoes, in fact. large hail and damaging winds across several states from texas to indiana, and then the east tomorrow, washington to philadelphia to new york. senior meteorologist rob marciano tracking this for us tonight. hey, rob. >> hi, david. these storms have already produced winds of 60 and 70 miles per hour. look at the radar. storms blasting through arkansas. trees down all over the place. look out, greenville. jackson, mississippi, you're next. this whole line with that cold front gets over the aplpalachias and into d.c., when they get to the coast, they should weaken somewhat, but damaging winds possible by the end of the day. david. >> we'll be tracking it with you. when we come back tonight, news on the baby formula shortage, the new step this week. with less asthma? u with dupixent, i can du more... crazy commutes... crowd control-
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