Witnesses recall horror of massacre

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Workers and shoppers described the chaos and carnage at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo when an 18-year-old opened fire at the store in what officials called a racially-motivated mass shooting on Saturday that left 10 people dead and three others injured.

The shooting sent those in the store fleeing for their lives outside of the nearest exit, or hiding in coolers. Several friends and family members of those who were at the store are awaiting any news of their loved ones hours later.

Officials have not yet released the names of the victims, but said 11 of those shot were black and two were white. One victim is a retired Buffalo police officer.

Shonnell Harris, an operation manager at the Tops, told The Buffalo News she heard 70 shots ring out in the market, which was “packed” with weekend shoppers.

She said she fell several times as she sprinted towards the back of the market. She said she saw the shooter, who has been identified as Payton Gendron, of Conklin, New York, which is over three hours away from Buffalo.

“It’s like a dream, but I know it’s not a dream,” Harris said.

Buffalo police officers react to the scene of the mass shooting.Buffalo police officers react to the scene of the mass shooting.Lori Cappellazzo/POLARIS

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Her daughter also works at the supermarket, she told the paper. Harris said she was able to track down her daughter, who was safe in the back of the store.

“I just grabbed her, I hugged her.”

A dairy worker at the Tops market said he took shelter inside of the cooler where he had been stocking milk moments before gunfire erupted.

“I just heard shots. Shots and shots and shots,” he told the paper. “It sounded like things were falling over.”

Alleged shooter Payton Gendron appears during his arraignment in Buffalo City Court after being arrested.Alleged shooter Payton Gendron appears during his arraignment in Buffalo City Court after being arrested.Mark Mulville/The Buffalo News via AP

He said other frightened people joined him in the cooler.

“I hid. I just hid. I wasn’t going to leave that room.”

Veronica Hemphill-Nichols said she was on her way into the Tops for a simple trip for a loaf of bread when she saw bodies laying on the ground in the parking lot.

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