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Ten people were killed by a gunman wearing bulletproof vests and armed with a high-powered rifle, while three others were injured, two of them seriously, outside and inside a Tops supermarket on Jefferson Avenue this afternoon.

A Buffalo police officer on the scene and another source close to law enforcement confirmed the supermarket massacre.

“It’s like walking into a horror movie, but everything is real. It’s like an Armageddon,” said the police officer at the scene. “It’s so overwhelming.”

One of the deceased was a recently retired Buffalo police officer who worked security for the store, both sources said.

The Buffalo News is withholding the identity of the retired officer because it could not be determined if his family had already been notified.

Up to five bodies were found in the parking lot, the police officer at the scene said.

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“There are bullets and blood everywhere,” the source said.

Shonnell Harris, operations manager for Tops, said he heard gunshots and ran frantically through the store, landing several times before exiting out the back. He saw the shooter, whom he described as a white male dressed in camouflage. “He looked like he was in the army.” Harris thought he heard 70 shots.

The shooter had a camera and police are investigating whether he broadcast live video of the scene, the official said.

The shooter was taken into custody and placed in a police vehicle at the scene, according to the two sources.

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The shooter was encased in body armor and had a military-grade helmet on his head.

It is unknown if he offered a reason for the massacre.

Inside the supermarket, several other victims were found, the two sources said, and some of the deceased people appeared to be hiding near checkout lines.

Adding to the horror, one of the sources said, family members arrived after word spread in the community about the shooting.

Others on the scene began broadcasting the shooting on Facebook Live.

Will G., a frozen dairy worker in Tops on Jefferson, said he went into the refrigerator to store milk about three minutes before the shooting. “I just heard shots. Shots and shots and shots,” he said. “It sounded like things were falling down.”

The worker hid in the cooler and was joined by more people, he said. “I hid. I just hid. I wasn’t going to leave that room.”

A large police presence closed off the area north of Jefferson Avenue at Northampton Street. Tops Markets is at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Riley Street, about two blocks north of Jefferson and Northampton.

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz tweeted at 2:49 p.m. that he was aware of an “active multiple shooting event” that occurred at Tops Markets at 1275 Jefferson Ave. He urged the public to avoid the area.

Ben Tsujimoto can be reached at [email protected], (716) 849-6927, or on Twitter at @Tsuj10.



Reference-buffalonews.com

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