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Buffalo, N.Y., mayor addresses the aftermath of yesterday's supermarket shooting


Yesterday's deadly mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., has stunned and shocked the country. The gunman wore tactical gear and attached a camera to his helmet, and the shooting was livestreamed on the internet. Officials say he appeared to have been motivated by racism. Eleven of the 13 victims were Black. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown joins us now. Thank you for being here, and we are so sorry for what you and your community are going through.

BYRON BROWN: I appreciate that. It's certainly a very difficult time in the city of Buffalo.

RASCOE: What is the latest you can tell us about the investigation?

BROWN: Well, certainly the investigation is ongoing. It is a collaborative investigation - Buffalo Police working with federal law enforcement, state law enforcement, county law enforcement to piece together as much information as possible.

RASCOE: Ten of the 13 victims were killed - some were in the parking lot, one was a security guard. What else can you tell us about them?

BROWN: You know, beautiful day in Buffalo - warm day, kids riding bicycles, Little League games going on, people stopping by the store to pick up groceries, odds and ends. The security guard that was killed did shoot and hit the suspect, but it did not penetrate the body armor. And former Buffalo Police Lieutenant Aaron Salter died a hero trying to stop the shooter and protect others in the community. The shooter - he did not live in this community. He came from three hours away. And his focus seems to be to kill Black people in the city of Buffalo.

RASCOE: You say he traveled three hours away - traveled miles to get to this community. What else do we know about this shooter?

BROWN: A heart filled with hate, a lack of compassion, inhumane behavior. Right now, I don't know much more about the shooter. Obviously, someone that was hatefully indoctrinated. There is just no place for hate of any type anywhere in our nation and anywhere in the world.

RASCOE: What is being done to help the families who've been affected?

BROWN: Immediately, last night, grief counselors were brought in. Pastors from different parts of the city came to minister and pray with the families. There will be a memorial service this afternoon. We will support the families with funeral arrangements that they have to make and do everything that we can to help ease the pain that they're feeling at this incredibly difficult time.

RASCOE: What do you want to see happen now?

BROWN: I would like to see more sensible gun control in this country. These mass shootings have happened all too often, again and again and again. It should be clear now to lawmakers in Washington that no community is immune to this - urban, suburban, rural. This is happening all over this country. So sensible gun control is necessary.

Also, the hate speech that is allowed on social media, the indoctrination of people into ways and thinking of hate - we have to address that. That has to come to an end. Hate speech should not be considered free speech, and we have to put limits on the ability for people to spread hate through the internet and through social media.

RASCOE: Byron Brown is the mayor of Buffalo, N.Y. Thank you so much for joining us.

BROWN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ayesha Rascoe is a White House correspondent for NPR. She is currently covering her third presidential administration. Rascoe's White House coverage has included a number of high profile foreign trips, including President Trump's 2019 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, and President Obama's final NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland in 2016. As a part of the White House team, she's also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast.
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