Police in Buffalo, an industrial hub in upstate New York near the Canadian border, took the 22-year-old shooter into custody after tackling him as appeared to be preparing to take his own life.
Witnesses said a young white man entered the supermarket, unshouldered a rifle and opened fire without warning.
The suspect was identified as Payton Gendron of Conklin, southeast of Buffalo in the state of New York, two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press.
Investigators believe Gendron may have been live-streaming the shooting and were scanning social media to determine if he had posted a manifesto online, the official said.
Officials said 11 of the victims are black and two are white. The shooting happened in a predominantly black neighbourhood.
The supermarket is in a predominantely black residential neighbourhood, about five kilometres north of downtown Buffalo.
Braedyn Kephart and Shane Hill, both 20, pulled into the parking lot just as the shooter was exiting.
“He was standing there with the gun to his chin. We were like what the heck is going on? Why does this kid have a gun to his face?” Kephart said.
“He ripped off his helmet, dropped his gun, and was tackled by the police.”
New York State Governor Kathy Hochul tweeted that she was “closely monitoring the shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo,” her hometown.
She said state officials have offered help to local authorities. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office said on social media that it ordered all available personnel to assist Buffalo police.
The shooting came little more than a year after a March 2021 attack at a King Soopers grocery in Boulder, Colorado, that killed 10 people. Investigators have not released any information about why they believe the man charged in that attack targeted the supermarket.
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