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The white gunman accused of massacring 10 African-American people in a racist rampage at a Buffalo supermarket planned to keep killing if he had escaped the scene, the police commissioner said, as the possibility of federal hate crime or domestic terror charges loomed.

The gunman, who had crossed the state to target people at the Tops Friendly Market, on Sunday (AEST) had talked about shooting up another store as well, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told CNN.

“He was going to get in his car and continue to drive down Jefferson Avenue and continue doing the same thing,” the commissioner said.

Payton Gendron talks with his attorney during his arraignment in Buffalo City Court Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Buffalo, N.Y. Gendron was arraigned on first-degree murder charges and ordered detained without bail. Police officials said the 18-year-old was wearing body armor and military-style clothing when he pulled up and opened fire at people at a Tops Friendly Market. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)
Payton Gendron aimed to continue his killing spree after shooting dead 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket, authorities said.. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News) (AP)

The commissioner’s account was similar to portions of a racist 180-page document, purportedly written by Payton Gendron, that said the assault was intended to terrorise all nonwhite, non-Christian people and get them to leave the country. Federal authorities were working to confirm the document’s authenticity.

Gendron, 18, travelled about 320km from his home in Conklin, New York, to commit the attack, police said. Authorities said he wielded an AR-15-style rifle, wore body armour and used a helmet camera to livestream the bloodbath on the internet.

Federal prosecutors said they are contemplating federal hate crime charges in the case.

The bloodshed in Buffalo was the deadliest in a wave of weekend shootings, including at a California church and a Texas flea market.

An FBI agent inspects bullet-riddled glass windows at the scene of the Buffalo shooting. (AP)

Law enforcement officials said on Sunday that New York State Police troopers had been called to Gendron’s high school last June for a report that the then-17-year-old had made threatening statements. The threat was “general” in nature and not related to race, Gramaglia said.

Gendron had threatened to carry out a shooting at Susquehanna Valley High in Conklin around graduation, according to a law enforcement official who was not authorised to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Gramaglia said Gendron had no further contact with law enforcement after a mental health evaluation that put him in a hospital for a day and a half.

It was unclear whether officials could have invoked New York’s “red flag” regulation, which lets law enforcement, school officials and families ask a court to order the seizure of guns from people considered dangerous.

Authorities would not say when Gendron acquired the weapons he had during the deadly attack.

The largely African-American community in Buffalo remains in shock after the mass shooting. (AP)

US Federal law bars people from owning guns if a judge has determined they have a “mental defect” or they have been forced into a mental institution. An evaluation alone would not trigger the prohibition.

Gendron researched the neighbourhood’s demographics and conducted reconnaissance before the attack, investigators said. Mayor Byron Brown said the gunman “came here with the express purpose of taking as many Black lives as he possibly could.”

The Buffalo gunman livestreamed the attack on Twitch, prompting scrutiny of how fast social platforms react to violent videos.

Gendron surrendered to police who confronted him in the supermarket’s vestibule. He was arraigned on a murder charge. Relatives didn’t respond to messages.

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