tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC May 16, 2022 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
tonight, a special edition of "world news tonight." chilling new details about the deadly mass shooting here at this grocery store in buffalo. authorities now believe this was just one part of the plan. and investigators now say the suspect visited this store as early as march. tonight, abc news obtaining video showing the final moments of the attack here at the tops market. the alleged gunman being taken into custody. ten people killed in what authorities call a racially motivated hate crime. racist slurs and the names of other mass shooters written on the suspect's ar-15. and tonight, abc news obtaining a document suggesting the attack was in the works for at least two months. the suspect, they say, planning this down to the supermarket aisles. tonight, we hear from a shopper who said the gunman was also here the day before the attack,
saying he spoke with the suspect. the alleged gunman asking, "are you going to be here tomorrow?" stephanie ramos here at the scene tonight. we are also learning more about the victims here. and we will honor them. the youngest, 32, the oldest, 86. tonight here, their stories. and the hero security guard killed while confronting the shooter. our interview tonight with a mother and daughter working inside the store. what they saw that guard do. tonight, how they describe his heroism, his bravery. the investigation tonight and major questions now about the warning signs. the suspect interacting with law enforcement around the time of his high school graduation last june. his alleged threats one year ago. and what's now been found tonight. what he posted just two weeks ago on the internet. was his plan out there weeks before this horrific attack? pierre thomas and what he's learned tonight. the other mass shooting in america, this time, at a church
in california. one person killed, five wounded. what authorities have now revealed tonight about the 68-year-old suspect. and we will hear from the pastor. how he and the parishioners took down the suspect and tied him up. the other major news this monday night, the baby formula shortage and what the fda and abbott have now revealed. the new effort. and we are also tracking severe thunderstorm watches in the nrtheast. damaging winds up to 70 miles per hour. a special edition of "world news tonight" begins now. good evening. and we are here in buffalo again tonight, the scene of the horrific mass shooting over the weekend, right here at the supermarket behind me. authorities say this was driven by racist hate, and tonight, authorities now tell us they believe this store was just part of the suspect's plan. that he planned to attack this supermarket and continue shooting right down jefferson
avenue right here behind me, possibly targeting other stores and a deli. that he spent time in this community, time planning this months ago. tonight, abc news obtaining a document authorities say suggests he planned this right down to the supermarket aisles. and that the alleged gunman was in buffalo back in early march. and as we reported last night here, he was also here the day before the attack, doing reconnaissance. tonight, abc news obtaining new video from an eyewitness who recorded the alleged attacker in the moments immediately after he put down that assault rifle and was taken into custody outside the supermarket, just feet from many of his victims. the horror and grief in this parking lot was immediate. a distraught woman screaming on her knees. tonight here, we are now learning more about the lives lost. the oldest, 86, the youngest, 32 years old. devoted to their families, their churches, their community. and the hero security guard who died confronting the gunman. tonight here, my interview with a mother and daughter working
inside this store, what they saw that brave guard do and what they want to say to his family tonight. we begin here with abc's stephanie ramos right here in buffalo. >> reporter: tonight, authorities revealing new details about the suspect in the deadly mass shooting at tops supermarket, saying he was planning to continue his hate-fueled, racist rampage to kill as many black people as possible. >> it appeared that his plans were to drive out of here and then continue driving down jefferson avenue, looking to shoot more black people, as he put it, and possibly even go to another store location. >> reporter: abc news obtaining a new 589-page document, which authorities say shows how the 18-year-old suspect, payton gendron, carefully planned the attack at least two months before he shot and killed ten people at the store. according to the document, gendron visited the supermarket back on march 8th, where he was questioned by a security guard at the store.
the document also included sketches of the supermarket, outlined different aisles, and how he would navigate around quickly. gendron also allegedly describes the tops supermarket as the first location he would target and lists two more possible locations to attack, including a nearby deli and a barbershop. police say gendron drove 200 miles from his home in conklin, new york, to the store, again on friday, one day before the attack to conduct reconnaissance. police are reviewing video surveillance from several locations. grady lewis says he spoke to the suspect that friday, talking about critical race theory. lewis even bought him something to drink outside the grocery store. >> that day, he asked me, "are you going to be here tomorrow?" i said, "yeah." because he came back here to the same spot where i bought him something to drink and shot people that look like me and would have shot me if i was standing there. >> reporter: this chilling new video showing the chaotic scene
moments after the massacre. >> there's a lot of people dead in there. >> reporter: police arresting the suspected shooter. this woman visibly distraught, falling to the ground. >> contact homicide. we have bodies down here. >> reporter: police say it all happened in a matter of minutes, starting around 2:30 saturday afternoon. the shooter opening fire as soon as he got out of his car, striking four people in the parking lot, killing three. then storming the store, shooting nine more people inside, including 55-year-old security guard aaron salter jr. the retired police officer confronting the shooter. the officer did not survive. i spoke with keyshanti atkinson, who was working inside as a cashier. >> i was cashing out one of my customers. i heard a loud boom. i thought it was just somebody knocking stuff over. and but then when i seen people running, i just kind of ran. >> reporter: officers arriving on scene just one minute after the first 911 call, but in that time, the shooter fired about 50
shots. all ten vick till victims killed were black. police say he had several more guns and high capacity magazines in his car. gendron charged with one count of murder, held without bail, on suicide watch. his public defender entering a plea of not guilty. >> i understand my charges. >> reporter: police now searching the 18-year-old's family home in broome county, new york, interviewing his parents, and combing through his social media. investigators believe the suspect may have been radicalized online, and posted a 180-page document laying out his plan for the rampage. that document fixated on "replacement theory," a white supremacist belief that non-whites will replace white people. new york governor kathy hochul. >> there's a belief that is fomenting on social media all over the world, where young people are being radicalized and believing that they have to take action to stop the replacement of whites by blacks and jews and
immigrants. this was the genesis of what happened in charlottesville and el paso and other places around the country. so the evidence is there. this is not a random act of violence. >> and stephanie ramos joins us from the scene here tonight. and stephanie, while you and i were on the air last night here, you reported that authorities believe the suspect conducted reconnaissance the day before the mass shooting here. and authorities then confirming late today that they also believe he visited this community back in march? >> reporter: exactly, david. late today, authorities held a press conference, saying the suspect visited in march and then again on friday, just one day before the massacre. authorities are now looking through hundreds of pages of documents where the suspect allegedly laid out his plan of attack. david? >> stephanie ramos with me again tonight. stephanie, thank you. it is so important that amid all of this talk about this horrific shooting, the gunman, the investigation, that we honor the lives lost here. they were devoted to their families, their churches.
so many of them gave so much to this community. tonight here, we honor them. tonight, these are the names and faces this community is determined to honor and remember. the youngest, roberta drury, just 32 years old. she had moved to buffalo to help care for her brother who was battling leukemia. 77-year-old pearl young. active in her church and a substitute teacher. she helped run a weekly food pantry. her sister in mourning. >> i pray she had no pain, that it happened so quick, and she was gone like that. >> reporter: katherine massey, 72. known here as a champion for civil rights. she wrote a letter to the editor in "the buffalo news" almost one year ago, calling for stricter federal gun control. 62-year-old geraldine talley. she was in the supermarket with her fiance. he escaped. she did not. 86-year-old ruth whitfield, a great-grandmother. she attended the same church in buffalo for 50 years. she stopped at the grocery store
after visiting her husband in a nursing home. her son, a former fire commissioner here in buffalo, remembering his mother. >> we're devastated. we're devastated. we're a very close family. we're a very, very close family. and my mother was the glue that held us all together. >> reporter: the entire family and their unbearable grief while talking with reporters today. celestine chaney was 65. a breast cancer survivor. a grandmother to six. at the store to buy strawberries to make shortcake. 67-year-old heyward patterson, a father of three. a deacon at his church. helping someone load groceries into their car when he was shot. margus morrison was 52. in the supermarket buying snacks for his weekly movie night with his wife. 53-year-old andre mackneil, a father of six, buying a birthday
cake for his 3-year-old grandson. and that hero security guard, working at the store. 55-year-old aaron salter jr., credited with saving so many lives. he was a former buffalo police officer for 30 years. >> i can't say enough about our retired fellow colleague, aaron salter, who confronted this individual to save the lives of others. >> reporter: a mother and daughter who were working inside the store, fragrance harris stanfield and yahnia brown-mcreynolds, are both grateful to that guard. you saw the guard? >> we saw the guard. he was still alive when we saw him. >> reporter: and his bravery. >> and he saved our lives. it's amazing that he sacrificed his life for all of ours. >> reporter: he probably saved many lives. >> he literally did. because everyone -- every worker who was in the front end made it out of the store. we wouldn't have made it if we didn't see im. >> reporter: that security guard, aaron salter jr., shot
the suspect, but the gunman was wearing body armor, which explains why the gunman survived while the guard did not. if you could say something to that guard's family, what would you say? >> i would say he's a hero. he saved everyone. he was fearless. and they should -- they should feel -- feel consoled and all these lives are like him living on. >> reporter: her daughter can't stop thinking about the guard and the other victims in that store. >> just, you know, those people, those innocent people -- kind of made me angry. because this just shouldn't have happened. this is not something we call normal. it's just -- >> reporter: and you knew them, right?
>> some of the customers -- >> some of the customers, they're regulars. >> like we say all the time, the store really is a family. >> reporter: your phones, your belongings, still inside that store. >> yes, yes. >> reporter: it's like it's frozen in time over there. right? >> yeah. >> reporter: and when you hear that they've uncovered evidence that this was racially motivated, that this was driven by hate -- >> you know, it's really incomprehensible. we -- we can't understand how someone can hate anyone so much. and we talk about how our community, this isn't just a black tops. this is not just an african american community. our community is very diverse here. and we all love each other. we treat each other the same, so it's -- i can't understand how someone can hate that. all the love that we give. and i was told he came in and checked out and i'm sure he got the same, you know, happy, bubbly, smiley, "how you doing, hoping you're having a great day" that everyone else gets. you know, and to think that you'd still come back and
endanger the people who have been kind to you. >> reporter: it's unthinkable. >> it doesn't make any sense. we just have to keep being compassionate, even after this. >> profound words about the hate in this country. a mother and daughter so grateful to that guard. and so many families here forever changed. their loved ones gave so much to this community. and we cannot forget that. in the meantime tonight, the investigation and the growing questions about the warning signs missed. the suspect interacting with law enforcement around the time of his high school graduation, just a year ago. his alleged threats at the time, and tonight, what's now been found. what was put online just two weeks ago. and the question, was the suspect's plan out there weeks before this horrific attack? abc's chief justice correspondent pierre thomas and what he's learned tonight. he's right here in buffalo with us. >> reporter: in this photo, he looks like any other high school senior, payton gendron, riding in his school's graduation parade.
but what law enforcement sources tell abc news is that in the days before that photo was taken, something happened that raises serious questions about red flags and missed signals. they say that shortly before graduation, gendron was assigned to write a paper about his plans. he referenced committing murder/suicide. the school called the state police. >> the individual was brought in for a mental health evaluation. he was evaluated and then he was released. >> reporter: there was an investigation, but no charges were ever filed. today, the local district attorney tells abc news his office is sometimes notified by schools about similar incidents. but not this time. "the school chooses to handle it the way it chose to handle it," he tells us. no comment from the school tonight. former classmates we spoke with describe gendron as smart, but quiet. nathan twitchell and cassaundra williams describe one particularly odd incident. >> once covid hit, he wasn't ever really at school other than once, right when we came back, he showed up in a hazmat-type
suit. >> full hazmat suit. >> what was your reaction to that? >> i mean, everyone was just staring at him. >> reporter: tonight, authorities believe gendron was living two lives, one in the pleasant suburb where he grew up, the other, in the darkest reaches of the internet. law enforcement sources tell us the newly-revealed 589-page document indicates that shortly after graduation, the teenager began posting messages on the social media platform discord, spelling out his plan of attack. he wrote about body armor. and taunted federal law enforcement. it is unclear who had access to the posts or who saw them. according to "the washington post," the 589-page document laying it all out was anonymously uploaded to a file sharing site called mediafire on april 29th, two weeks before the attack. david, sources tell us that the suspect initially posted those plans on a private group on the social media site discord. it's unclear tonight who, if
anyone, had access to that group. but you can be sure this will be a key focus for fbi officials as they try to determine whether other people knew an attack was coming, david. >> that, of course, is the major question tonight. pierre, thank you. and sadly, we turn now to another mass shooting in america over the weekend. this time, at a church in california. one person was killed, five others were wounded. and the fbi tonight now revealing it is investigating this shooting as a hate crime, as well. tonight, we hear from the pastor. he describes how he and the parishioners took down the 68-year-old suspect and tied him up. abc's chief national correspondent matt gutman on the scene in laguna woods, california, tonight. >> reporter: tonight, police say 68-year-old david chou walked into this southern california church bearing two handguns and a political grudge. >> it is believed the suspect
involved was upset about political tensions between china and taiwan. >> reporter: police say the suspect is an immigrant from china who drove four hours from las vegas to target this taiwanese congregation. about 50 congregants had gathered for a luncheon to former pastor billy chang. police say chou, a licensed security guard, came in with a gun, even trying to trap them inside. >> multiple locations had been chained shut and multiple entrances had been tampered with. >> reporter: he then opened fire, injuring five. they ranged in age from 66 to 92, and one man was killed, dr. john chang. >> dr. chang charged the individual, the suspect, attempted to disarm him. >> reporter: it was then that pastor chang saw an opportunity. >> i bring a chair to attack the shooter. >> reporter: so you hit the shooter with a chair? >> yes. >> reporter: this image showing the moment pastor chang and others managed to subdue the shooter. those elderly congregates tying him up with electrical cord. david, the fbi says it has multiple pieces of evidence,
including writings indicating this was a hate crime. and if the suspect is convicted just on those state charges alone of murder and attempted murder, he could face the death penalty. david? >> all right, matt gutman, our thanks to you, as well. the two mass shootings in america. in the meantime now, to the other news this monday night, and there is a major headline involving that critical baby formula shortage. that manufacturer, abbott, now reaching an agreement with the fda to reopen its largest factory in michigan. so, the question, how soon could those empty shelves be restocked? here's abc's erielle reshef tonight. >> reporter: with families facing that dire nationwide formula shortage, tonight, the fda and abbott nutrition laying out a plan to reopen a critical plant in michigan. >> that plant in sturgis, michigan, was making a number of special formulas that are really lifesaving for infants. >> reporter: the largest formula maker in the country shuttered that facility in february after a voluntary recall and fda inspection. but abbott warning it will take two weeks to restart operations and another six to eight weeks
to get its products onto shelves. the fda also signaling it will pave the way for importing formula brands currently not sold in the u.s. >> we're going to assure that the product is tested, that it's coming from reliable manufacturers. >> reporter: for now, millions of parents are still scrambling. new mom barbie vann now searching beyond oklahoma. >> i'm trying to exhaust every resource that i can, reaching out to friends and family in other states, asking them to please look at their local stores. >> reporter: and david, relief can't come soon enough. the white house today saying that it is working with manufacturers and retailers to get formula to the areas where there is a critically low supply. david? >> erielle reshef on this again tonight. erielle, thank you. and when we come back here tonight, news on the war in ukraine. a major breakthrough tonight involving that steel plant. and the severe thunderstorm watches in the northeast at this hour. damaging winds possible, up to 70 miles per hour, in a moment. nothing like a weekend in the woods.
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>> violent attacks from coast-to-coast. a look at what needs to happen now to save lives and the role played by the bay area's biggest export, social media. >> we can change the way we manage the land and that can make us more resilient in the face of climate change. >> fighting fires in new way before they even start. >> governor gavin newsom is facing reelection this year. we talk one-on-one with the bay area author and homelessness policy advocate hoping to take on the governor for the state's top spot. abc 7 news at 6:00 starts right now. >> building a better bay area, moving forward, finding solutions. this is abc 7 news. >> voting is underway in california's june primary and at the top of the ballot is the top job in california. >> thanks for joining us. we are less than a month away from election day in california.
while it is only a primary, the decisions you make on your ballot can have a long-lasting impact on the state. it is a long ballot with a lot to choose from. the first race you will deal with is the governor. liz kreutz down with one candidate hoping to challenge governor newsom for the job. >> governor newsom is expected to win his reelection handily but issues around crime and safety and homelessness and drug crisis are front of mind for many californians. bay area author michael shellenberger has thrown his hat into the ring. he is hoping by talking about these issues here will be able to break through. as californians receive their ballots for the june primary, they will find a long list of candidates hoping to take on governor newsom for the top spot. among them, michael shellenberger. an environmentalist turned homeless advocate and author of the book san fransicko. the democrat turned independent