A manager at the Buffalo supermarket where 10 people were shot dead by a white supremacist has told of the moment she saw one victim being shot before her eyes.
‘I ran around the front of the building, experienced someone get shot, and ran around the back to get my daughter,’ Tops Market operations manager Shonnell Harris said of Saturday’s massacre.
She was confronted with the horrific site after fleeing out the back door to escape gunshots, only to see shooter Payton Grendon shoot another victim.
Other survivors – including a terrified eight year-old girl who wasn’t named – fled to the store’s freezers for safety during the horrific attack.
He shot 13 people, 10 of them fatally, and it’s unclear whether the victim Harris saw survived
‘I heard the noise, it got louder and closer,’ Harris told The Buffalo News of the tragedy, recalling the barrage of shots let off by white supremacist Payton Gendron, 18, who shot 13 people during the attack, which cops said was racially motivated.
She said she heard up to 70 bullets being fired during the attack in the store where her daughter also works
Police said 11 of those victims were black, and that Gendron – who drove more than three hours from his home in Conklin to the store, situated in a predominantly black neighborhood – had walked through the Tops looking for specific people to target.
Ten died as a result of the shooting – the beginning of which Gendron had livestreamed on Twitch before the feed was taken down roughly two minutes into the teen’s killing spree.
‘Everybody started running towards the back,’ Harris recalled of how shoppers frantically fled the sound of gunfire when the shots first rang out.
‘I stumbled a few times before I was able to get out.’
Witness Shonnell Harris (pictured at left with her husband), a manager at the Buffalo Tops where the shooting transpired, said she saw one person shot right in front of her as she fled the store where the tragedy – which saw 10 people die – took place
The shooting took place on Saturday at the Tops supermarket (pictured) at 1275 Jefferson Avenue, in Buffalo, New York. At least 10 people were shot
Harris, who said she thought she heard over 70 shots during the chaos that ensued. then described how she then saw Gendron, who wore military fatigues and a ballistics vest during the attack.
‘I saw the shooter, he looked like he was dressed for the army,’ she recalled to the outlet. Harris said she then fled through a back door, before eventually finding her daughter outside.
‘It’s like a nightmare,’ Harris said of the massacre – the worst in Buffalo history.
‘It’s like a dream, but you know its not a dream. You see this on TV, at schools, but I never thought I would be one of them.’
She said upon finding her daughter, ‘I just grabbed her, I hugged her.’
Witnesses decribed seeing Payton Hendron is arrested Saturday after killing 10 people at a Tops Market supermarket in Buffalo, Upstate New York. Police say the massacre was motivated by the 18 year-old’s hatred for black people. Eleven of those shot were African-American
The gunman opened fire around 2.30pm on Saturday while livestreaming the shooting. Several witnesses saw him carry out the 10 killings
Another eyewitness, 20-year-old Braedyn Kephart, recalled to local outlet 2 WGRZ how she had seen the shooter towards the end of the attack, when he had pointed one of three guns he had on his person to his throat after being confronted by cops.
Kephart and her friend pulled into the store’s parking lot just as the massacre was reaching its conclusion.
‘He was standing there with the gun to his chin,’ said Kephart, who saw the standoff after pulling into the store’s parking lot with a friend.
Another eyewitness, 20-year-old Braedyn Kephart, said she saw the shooter point a gun to his own neck toward the end of the attack, after being confronted by cops
‘We were like what the heck is going on? Why does this kid have a gun to his face?’ Kephart said, adding that Gendron eventually abandoned the suicide attempt after dropping to his knees following the faceoff with SWAT officers.
‘He was standing there in his military gear with his weapon to his chin, looking like he was going to blow his head off,’ Kaphart said. ‘We weren’t sure what was happening. As he continued to do that, he dropped to his knees still appearing as if he might shoot himself.’
‘He ripped off his helmet, dropped his gun, and was tackled by the police,’ she said.
Across the street from the Tops, retired Buffalo firefighter and medic Katherine Crofton told Buffalo News that she also spotted Gendron during the attack, after hearing gunfire while she sat on her front porch with her dog.
She detailed how she saw the man shoot two women in the store parking lot.
‘I didn’t see him at first, I turned around and I saw him shoot this woman,’ Crofton recounted to the paper. ‘She was just going into the store.
‘And then he shot another woman,’ Crofton said. ‘She was putting groceries into her car. I got down because I did not know if he was going to shoot me.’
Crofton said she saw Gendron towards the end of the attack as well, when officers confronted him outside the store, where she recalled how the gunman appeared as if he wanted cops to gun him down.
‘The guy walked out of the store, the cops were just screaming at him, and he just stood there. He just stood there. It was like he wanted them to shoot him,’ Crofton said. Crofton said the shooter began to remove his gear after more officers arrived on the scene. At that point, officers jumped on the teen and restrained him, she said.
Meanwhile, a dairy worker at the store described how he was forced to take shelter inside of a cooler where he had been stocking milk when he suddenly heard the sounds of gunfire.
‘I just heard shots. Shots and shots and shots,’ the unnamed staffer told the News. ‘It sounded like things were falling over.’
He said he waited in the cold room well after the sound of gunfire had passed.
‘I hid. I just hid. I wasn’t going to leave that room,’ the staffer said.
Cops Gendron shot four people outside the store, three of whom died, the commissioner said.
He then went into the supermarket where he exchanged gunfire with a security guard – a former Buffalo police officer. The ex-cop shot at the gunman multiple times cops said, but the bullets hit the shooter’s body arm and left him unfazed.
Gendron then killed the guard, identified as Aaron Salter Jr.
A further six victims are believed to have been shot dead inside.
Cops said Gendron scrawled the n-word on his rifle before carrying out the murders. The teen pleaded not guilty to one count of first degree murder stemming from the massacre Saturday. It is not yet clear which of the murders the charge refers to. He will likely face more charges in the coming hours.
Gendron, who was barefoot, masked, and wearing a paper smock in court Saturday, lived in the small town of Conklin with his dad Paul and mother Pamela prior to the murder, both of whom are engineers for the New York transit department.
Payton Gendron, 18, has been named as the shooter who killed 10 people in a massacre at an upstate New York supermarket Saturday
Buffalo shooter Payton Gendron is pictured at his arraignment hearing Saturday night, after being charged with a single count of first-degree murder. Further charges are almost certain to follow
Gendron donned a paper outfit and mask for the hearing, and was barefoot. He spoke only to confirm that he understands the charge that he faces, with his lawyer saying that he intended to deny the allegations
Neighbors in the rural town – which has a population of just over 5,000 – told DailyMail.com that the Gendrons are an unassuming family, and that news of Payton’s killings had shocked them to the core.
Salter Jr, the first and only victim named in the attack, has been hailed as a hero after exchanging gunfire with Gendron inside the crowded market.