(NewsNation) — President Joe Biden spoke in Buffalo, New York, the Tuesday after a white supremacist targeted Black people at a supermarket, leaving 10 dead. Biden decried the act as “domestic terrorism.”
At least 10 people were killed and multiple injured after a white gunman wearing military gear and livestreaming with a helmet camera entered a Tops Friendly Market with a rifle and opened fire, authorities said. Three more people were injured during the attack. Nearly all the victims were Black.
Biden took time to remember the victims Tuesday as grandparents, siblings, and parents who loved their families and helped their communities. He said the victims’ lives, love and service speaks to the bigger story of America.
“In America evil will not win. I promise you, hate will not prevail and white supremacy will not have the last word,” Biden said.
The president and first lady Jill Biden’s first stop Tuesday was a makeshift memorial outside the supermarket. The first couple laid a bouquet of white flowers at the memorial of blossoms, candles and messages of condolence outside the supermarket.
Biden on Tuesday decried racially motivated violence, and the media, politics and Internet that he said radicalized “angry, alienated, lost and isolated individuals.” He told Americans he ran for president to restore the soul of America, following former President Donald Trump not denouncing a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“The evidence we have uncovered so far makes no mistake that this is an absolute racist hate crime,” Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Sunday. “And it will be prosecuted as a hate crime.”
So far investigators are looking at the suspect’s connection to what’s known as the “great replacement” theory, which baselessly claims white people are being intentionally overrun by other races through immigration or higher birth rates.
Biden, in his Tuesday remarks, called on Americans to “reject the lie” of the great replacement theory.
“We’ve now seen too many times, the deadly and destructive violence this ideology unleashes,” the president said.
The suspect was identified and is in custody after surrendering to authorities, police said. It wasn’t immediately clear why the suspect traveled more than 200 miles from his home to Buffalo, but law enforcement officials said he had researched the local demographics around the Tops Friendly Market while looking for places with a high concentration of Black residents, arriving there at least a day in advance to conduct reconnaissance.
The mass shooting comes amid Biden’s attempt to pass stricter gun control laws. Biden this year announced a strategy to combat gun crimes, including steps to crack down on rogue gun dealers and slow the spread of untraceable ghost guns, privately made firearms without serial numbers.
Gun violence has risen sharply in the last few years —according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, firearm homicides are at the highest level they’ve been in 26 years.
FBI records released last September suggest Biden inherited a violent crime problem. In 2020, the year before Biden took office, homicides rose nearly 30% over the previous year, the largest one-year jump documented by the FBI. There were 21,570 killings, the highest since the early 1990s, when homicides stayed above 23,000 a year. Biden met with mayors, police chiefs and other local officials last week to discuss public safety.
This story is developing. Refresh for updates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.