Mass shooting in Buffalo: Emergency radio transmission shows what first responders knew as shooter opened fire on supermarket

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Gendron pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder charge against him in court Saturday night, Buffalo Court Chief Judge Craig Hannah told CNN.

Police and fire department radio traffic from the shooting obtained and reviewed by CNN showed how the shooting unfolded, as responders asked the dispatcher to ‘send as many cars as possible’ after reporting ‘two people down” at the scene.

A civilian reported that a police officer was shot north of Jefferson Street, where the supermarket is located, the recording says.

The officer was later identified as Aaron Salter, a former Buffalo police lieutenant working as a security guard at the market. He died of his injuries, according to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. The security guard “fired multiple shots at the suspect,” but the suspect’s tactical gear shielded him from the officer’s fire, according to Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia.

The authorities respond in force

Authorities say when the suspect arrived at the store around 2:30 p.m. he was heavily armed, wearing a helmet and had a camera streaming his actions live. Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn said the suspect, who was using an assault weapon, shot four people outside the grocery store, three of them fatally. When he entered the store, he exchanged fire with the armed security guard and began shooting at customers in the store, Gramaglia said.

Six trucks were already on the scene before three people were reported “on the ground”, in the recording. Responders informed the dispatcher that the suspect “may be an individual in body armor” who was being “cornered” by police officers.

The dispatcher is heard in the recording requesting additional equipment from the Tops market for a “high casualty active shooter incident” with multiple possible casualties.

Inside the store, nine people were shot before the suspect was apprehended by police, with the guard and six others dying of their injuries, Flynn’s statement said.

“I just notified 911 … what was going on. Officers en route, officers here at the scene … I notified 911 to contact Homicide. We have bodies here,” a rescue worker said to a dispatcher.

An emergency responder called for more officers inside the supermarket ‘because we have many bodies’ and spent shells, adding ‘we need to keep the evidence safe’.

Suspect arrested, investigation begins

Within 20 minutes of the shooter opening fire inside the store, police took a suspect into custody. Shortly after, officers reported three people inside and two injured outside, the radio traffic recording showed.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul says an AR-15 used in the shooting was purchased legally from a New York state gun store, but was illegally modified with a large capacity magazine.

Emergency responders later reported “many family members here looking for other family members”, in the recording.

Gramaglia said family notifications on Sunday took place after the shooting, “so they can begin the grieving process.”

They also told the dispatcher to “make sure that when the ambulance comes in, uh, that they don’t disturb the scene, whoever’s already dead, we have to leave them there until the homicide happens to the same place. We have to maintain the integrity of this thing,” the recording reads.

Mass shooting at Buffalo supermarket was a racist hate crime, police say

Of those shot in the attack, 11 were black and two were white, officials said. Two people remain hospitalized in stable condition, an Erie County Medical Center spokesperson told CNN.

The US Department of Justice is investigating the mass shooting “as a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism,” according to a statement from US Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Investigators are reviewing an alleged 180-page manifesto posted online in connection with the shooting, two federal law enforcement sources told CNN. The author of the document, who claims to be Payton Gendron, confesses to the attack and describes himself as a fascist, a white supremacist and an anti-Semite.

CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz, Artemis Moshtaghian and Christina Maxouris contributed to this report.

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