May 15, 2022
Details on the Buffalo Shooting Tragedy 5/15/22 Transcript
All the details so far on the Buffalo Shooting suspect 5/15/22. Read the transcript here.
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Christi Paul: (00:00)
10 people were killed when a gunman opened fire. This was at a supermarket in a largely black neighborhood in Buffalo.
Grady Lewis: (00:09)
I seen the guy go in army style, bent over, just shooting at people, and I heard him shooting at people, and then I saw three people laying down.
Boris Sanchez: (00:18)
Officials say that Payton Gendron, a white 18 year old man, was wearing body armor and military style clothing when he pulled up yesterday at the Tops Friendly market and began shooting. He picked that spot specifically for its demographics, according to officials. They say he drove from more than 200 miles away to carry out the attack in an area that had a significant black population.
Joseph Gramaglia: (00:45)
He was very heavily armed. He had tactical gear. He had a tactical helmet on. He had a camera that he was live streaming what he was doing.
Boris Sanchez: (00:55)
The suspect was immediately arraigned on first degree murder charges, and more charges are expected to follow. Federal agencies are now investigating the shooting as a potential hate crime in a case of racially motivated domestic terrorism.
Christi Paul: (01:10)
Now authorities say 11 of the 13 people shot by this white suspect were black. They’re reviewing a 180-page manifesto reportedly written by the shooter where he describes his perceptions about the dwindling size of the white population. CNN’s Polo Sandoval is with us from Buffalo right now. Polo, what else have you learned about this shooting thus far?
Polo Sandoval: (01:31)
Yeah, it’s certainly some disturbing details that investigators are basically pouring over in that manifesto that you just mentioned. As for the neighborhood itself, Christi and Boris, the air is certainly heavy with sorrow as this community will be waking up as they continue to mourn the loss of many of their community members. The yellow tape that you see still surrounding the grocery store this morning, it will likely be up for some time just given the broad nature of this investigation, a very deep nature of this investigation as authorities were very quickly announced that they will be handling this, at least at the federal level as racially-motivated violent extremism. In fact, just a few hours after that heavily armed and armor wearing suspect allegedly pulled up to this grocery store, the federal authorities were very quick to say that he was fueled by hate as he got out of his vehicle and then very methodically began to shoot people in this parking lot before he went inside.
Polo Sandoval: (02:26)
At the end, 13 people were shot, 10 of them killed. 11 of the victims were black. So that’s certainly something that just paints a clear picture of what happened here, and also speaks to the apparent motivation that investigators are working with right now. In terms of where he came from, you’re talking about a three hour drive southeast of here close to the Pennsylvania border. I want you to hear directly from Erie County sheriff John Garcia as he tries to just describe how this investigation is being handled up to this point.
John Garcia: (02:58)
This was pure evil. It was straight up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community, outside of the city of good neighbors, as the mayor said, coming into our community and trying to inflict that evil upon us.
Polo Sandoval: (03:21)
That suspect, already charged with first degree murder yesterday afternoon. But as you mentioned a little while ago, those charges will likely begin to add up with more charges expected, not to mention that federal component of this investigation. But there’s so much evidence to bore over. There’s the 180-page manifesto that investigators are looking into that they believe may have been written by that suspect and had been posted online just days before the shooting itself, and also witness statements. Then of course, what he could potentially tell investigators as well as we, today, will seek to learn more about the people, the families affected, including a security guard that tried to actually shoot the suspect. In fact, actually managed to land a round. But because the suspect was wearing that body armor, that round wasn’t effective, and that’s when the suspect, police say, turned his attention on that security guard and then shot and killed him.
Polo Sandoval: (04:16)
In terms of what we also expect will be more about what state authorities will be doing. I had an opportunity to speak briefly with Attorney General Letitia James yesterday who says among many different things that they’ll be reviewing will be social media platforms, including some of these live streaming platforms, including the one that was used to live stream a portion of that attack. Of course, that company has spoken out Boris saying that they are devastated and they took down that live stream only minutes after the violence began.
Christi Paul: (04:42)
Hello Sandoval. We appreciate all of the details. Thank you so much. Want to go to CNN White House reporter Jasmine Wright. Jasmine, always good to see you. I know president Biden has been briefed on this shooting obviously. What is the response from the White House?
Jasmine Wright: (04:57)
Well, president Biden is mourning the victims of this tragic shooting. But he’s also calling for action after he was briefed on Saturday. In his statement released late last night, he said that more needs to be learned about the motivations of this shooting, making way really for a thorough investigation, and he also said, Christi and Boris, one thing is clear, and I want to read you this part, he said, “A racially motivated hate crime is abhorrent to the very fabric of this nation. Any act of domestic terrorism, including an act perpetrated in the name of a repugnant white nationalist ideology, is antithetical to everything we stand for in America.” Now the president added that we must do everything in our power to end the hate-fueled domestic terrorism, and in this statement released last night, he also thanked first responders and other… Excuse me, law enforcement officials.
Jasmine Wright: (05:51)
Now we will see the president today leaving his home here in Wilmington heading to Washington D.C. where he is expected to attend that National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial where he and the first lady will lay a wreath and also give remarks. Now I think we can expect the president to tap into that role of consoler and chief, really returning to that as this nation mourns this tragic event. Christi, Boris.
Boris Sanchez: (06:16)
Jasmine Wright traveling with the president in Wilmington, Delaware. Thank you so much. Let’s get straight to some expert analysis now with CNN national security analyst, Juliette Kayyem. Juliette, always great to have you. Always unfortunate that it’s often under these circumstances.
Juliette Kayyem: (06:32)
Boris Sanchez: (06:32)
CNN has independently obtained this shooter’s alleged writings.
Juliette Kayyem: (06:36)
Boris Sanchez: (06:36)
Much of it lifted directly from the darkest corners of the internet, the shooter describing himself as a white supremacist, as an anti-Semite, exposing that fringe conspiracy theory that white people are being systematically replaced in this country.
Juliette Kayyem: (06:51)
Boris Sanchez: (06:52)
It’s very similar to other far-right terrorists that we’ve seen before that this strikes me as a copycat-type attack. Is that a fair assessment?
Juliette Kayyem: (07:02)
It is, and I think the manifesto exposes I think the limitations of the way we tend to think about these kinds of attacks as sort of lone wolf, what can we learn about him, what motivated him? I think what we see is that there’s an entire apparatus of connective tissue connecting these cases, connecting this hate, and supporting essentially the efforts that we saw, the hunt that we saw on Saturday. The manifesto itself is not rambling. We shouldn’t think of these people as crazy. It’s actually just absorbing the language of hate that we hear in the public space, that we hear in the media space, and in particular, as you note, the white replacement theory of racism, and it matters because a white replacement theory is based on a belief that the pie is limited, the American pie is limited, and that the existence of the other, in this case African Americans, but we’ve seen it with Hispanic Americans in the rampage in Texas, the existence of them threatens my ability as the white man to be able to exist in America, and therefore it justifies violence.
Juliette Kayyem: (08:17)
In other words, it is not just racism. It is a violent racism because you have to rid yourself of these people, and this is the motivation that is leading to what we call violent extremism. This isn’t just mirror extremism. It is violent extremism because it’s justified in their theory of I have to protect my piece of the pie.
Boris Sanchez: (08:42)
And that kind of thinking is echoed often, even by some of the most popular hosts on cable news.
Juliette Kayyem: (08:49)
Boris Sanchez: (08:49)
And other similar terrorists, people that we know shot up a mosque in New Zealand, a church in South Carolina.
Juliette Kayyem: (08:58)
Boris Sanchez: (08:59)
The shooter, in his own writing, seems to acknowledge that he was radicalized online, just an 18 year old kid.
Juliette Kayyem: (09:05)
Boris Sanchez: (09:05)
Walk us through that process of radicalization. Are some people more susceptible to this sort of thing than others?
Juliette Kayyem: (09:15)
Well, certainly. One is some people are more susceptible to it because it confirms maybe beliefs that they’ve had, or the beliefs that they’ve been raised in, and then the way the algorithms work on social media, the way that we get information, is that if we like something, more of that information will come to us over time so that you’re just inundated with only that lane of how to view things. So that is essentially what is happening. Now, why… There’s lots of people receiving this though. So why did he become the one who took out a gun? But that’s the sort of brilliance, I hate to say it, of what’s happening in terms of white supremacy, in terms of hatred in this country. You can hear political leaders, media leaders, right? They are espousing the same thing, but they’re doing it in a way that is relatively generic, and so they have plausible deniability.
Juliette Kayyem: (10:07)
They didn’t know this guy. They didn’t tell him to do it, but what they are doing is giving him a network of support. They’re giving him, as I wrote yesterday, the herd. He’s not a lone wolf. He has his herd, and then why particularly him we will find out over time. But that’s basically how the radicalization works. They find comfort in the numbers, and they’re supported by leaders. I mean, they don’t view themselves as aberrations or crazy. They are watching leaders mimic this language.