The racially motivated massacre which left 10 people dead and 3 others injured in Buffalo, New York shocked not only the African American community against which the attack was targeted, but also the city’s sizable Jewry.
According to authorities, the suspect in the shooting was identified as 18-year-old Payton Gendron. The shooter also allegedly shared online a 180-page manifesto laying out his plans.
The work suggests that Gendron heavily subscribes to the white supremacist Great Replacement conspiracy theory that says that a cabal of Jewish elites is scheming to wipe out America’s Caucasian population through mass non-white immigration.
Rabbi Mendy Labkowski, a Chabad emissary who lives near the Tops supermarket where the massacre took place, said: "The shooter doesn't even live in Buffalo. He lived about two to three hours' drive from here.”
“He was looking for a place with a high number of blacks, and this is the most 'black' area he could find,” added Labkowski, referring to reports Gendron drove about 200 miles before reaching the scene of the shooting.
“Among the racist things he wrote [in his manifesto], there are also a lot of things against Jews. He wrote against the ultra-Orthodox living in Lakewood and Thomas River [in New Jersey]."
Labkowski added that the attack shocked him and those around him. "Thank God we have a very loving neighborhood in Buffalo. Most of my neighbors in the block are black. I live right downtown. We are friendly and very close. It's heartbreaking to see such a thing happen."
"After Saturday prayers, someone came to our home… and told us what had happened a few hundred meters from our house.”
“We are now trying to launch a campaign for peace and kindness. There were ten good people killed that night. We need to promote a better reality, affection and kindness.”
Jonathan Greenblatt, general manager of the Anti-Defamation League, said: "Make no mistake - this is the same anti-Semitic hate filled batter which inspired past shooters, in Pittsburgh, Pavay, El Paso and Charleston."
"It was another expected attack by a white supremacist, who was subjected to hateful conspiracy theories on the Internet and then resorted to violent action, this time one aimed primarily at black victims.”
“We can not remain complacent in the face of this ongoing and serious national security threat,” added Greenblatt, who further called on elected officials to act and promote legislation that would prevent future hate crimes fueled by white supremacist sentiment.