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Gunman kills 10 in racially motivated shooting at New York state supermarket

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6/6

© Reuters. Police officers secure the scene after a shooting at TOPS supermarket in Buffalo, New York, U.S. May 14, 2022. REUTERS/Jeffrey T. Barnes REFILE – CORRECTING DATE

2/6

By Jenna Zucker, Steve Gorman and Moira Warburton

BUFFALO, N.Y. (Reuters) -An 18-year-old white gunman shot 10 people to death and wounded three others at a grocery store in a Black neighborhood of Buffalo, New York, before surrendering after what authorities called an act of “racially motivated violent extremism.”

Authorities said the suspect, who was armed with an assault-style rifle and appeared to have acted alone, drove to Buffalo from his home several hours away to launch a Saturday afternoon attack that he broadcast in real time on social media platform Twitch, a live video service owned by Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN).

Eleven of the 13 people struck by gunfire were Black, officials said. The two others were white. The racial breakdown of the dead was not made clear.

Court papers named the suspect as Payton Gendron of Conklin, a town of about 5,000 people in New York’s Southern Tier region near the Pennsylvania border.

He was arraigned hours after the shooting in state court on first-degree murder charges, which carry a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said later. New York has no capital punishment.

Flynn said the judge also ordered Gendron to remain in custody without bail and to undergo a “forensic examination.” Gendron was scheduled to return to court on May 19.

SURRENDERED TO POLICE

Authorities said the teenager, reported by local media to have been a student at the State University of New York’s Broome Community College near Binghamton, had come close to taking his own life before he was arrested.

When confronted by officers at the store, the suspect held a gun to his own neck, but they talked him into dropping the weapon and surrendering, Buffalo police commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told a news briefing.

Gramaglia said the gunman shot and killed three people in the parking lot of the Tops Friendly Markets outlet before exchanging fire with a retired police officer working as a security guard for the store, but the suspect was protected by his body armor.

The guard was one of the 10 people shot to death, the nine others all being customers. Three other employees of the store, part of a regional chain, were wounded but are expected to survive, authorities said.

Shonnell Harris, a manager at Tops, told the Buffalo News she thought she heard as many as 70 gunshots and that she fell several times as she ran through the store to a rear exit.

“He looked like he was in the Army,” she told the newspaper, describing the camouflage-clad assailant.

Retired firefighter Katherine Crofton, who lives nearby, said she witnessed the start of the bloodshed from her porch.

“I saw him shoot this woman,” Crofton told the paper. “She was just going into the store. And then he shot another woman. She was putting groceries into her car. I got down because I did not know if he was going to shoot me.”

‘PURE EVIL’

Stephen Belongia, the FBI special agent in charge of the bureau’s Buffalo field office, said the attack would be investigated both as a hate crime and as an act of “racially motivated violent extremism” under federal law.

“This person was pure evil,” Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said at a news conference, his voice quaking with emotion. “It was a straight-up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community.”

New York Governor Kathy Hochul told a late-evening news conference she was dismayed that the killer managed to livestream his attack on social media, which she blamed for hosting a “feeding frenzy” of violent extremist ideology.

“The fact that that can even be posted on a platform is absolutely shocking,” Hochul said. “These outlets must be more vigilant in monitoring social media content.”

Twitch said in a statement that it removed the livestream less than two minutes after it started and was working to ensure no other accounts re-posted the content. Hochul said it should have been taken down “within a second.”

Screenshots of the broadcast were posted on social media, including some that appeared to show the shooter holding a gun and standing over a body in the grocery store.

A document circulating online that appeared to have been written by the killer sketched out a to-do list for the attack, including cleaning the gun and testing the livestream.

In addition, a 180-page manifesto outlining ‘The Great Replacement Theory’ – the idea that white people are being replaced by minorities in the United States and other countries – also circulated online, reportedly authored by Gendron.

A spokesperson for Flynn’s office declined to comment on the documents. The FBI could not immediately be reached for comment.

The governor also said she would introduce a previously planned “comprehensive” gun control package on Tuesday to “address further loopholes that exist in our (state) laws.”

Hochul said the firearm used in the killings was legally purchased but had been illegally modified with a high-capacity magazine, which she said could easily have been purchased legally in Pennsylvania.

The Buffalo shooting follows a pattern of other racially motivated murders in recent years, including the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting when a white supremacist murdered 11 congregants in October 2018, and the Atlanta spa shootings in March 2021 when a white man murdered eight people, targeting Asians.

Saturday’s shooting spree was also reminiscent of the attack on a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019, when the killer livestreamed the murders on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB).

Buffalo Mayor Bryon Brown called for unity on what he called a “day of great pain for our community.”

“Many of us have been in and out of this supermarket many times,” he told reporters. “We cannot let this hateful person divide our community or our country.”

World

Trump’s sway faces biggest midterm test in Georgia’s Republican races

Published

on

4/4

© Reuters. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp waves to the crowd following a rally ahead of the state’s Republican primary, in Kennesaw, Georgia, U.S. May 23, 2022. REUTERS/Alyssa Pointer

2/4

By Alexandra Ulmer

ATLANTA (Reuters) -Donald Trump’s campaign to play kingmaker in this year’s midterm elections faced its biggest test yet in Georgia on Tuesday as Republican voters decide whether to heed his demands to oust Governor Brian Kemp.

Trump has backed former U.S. Senator David Perdue’s primary challenge against Kemp, who angered the former president by refusing to try to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election.

While opinion polls show Kemp holding a wide lead over Perdue, another Trump-endorsed candidate, former football star Herschel Walker, is favored to snag the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate — though some party leaders are worried he could prove to be a flawed general election candidate.

Trump’s obsession over his loss in Georgia to Democrat Joe Biden has extended to other Republican statewide races, including for secretary of state, the state’s top election official.

Incumbent Brad Raffensperger, who rejected Trump’s plea to “find” enough votes to alter the outcome, faces U.S. Representative Jody Hice, who earned Trump’s endorsement and has echoed his fraud claims, in a race that polls suggest is tight.

Trump has made more than 190 endorsements since leaving office, mostly for incumbent Republicans who face no serious primary opposition.

He has amassed a mixed record in competitive contests; most recently, his nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, the television host Dr. Mehmet Oz, is in a race still too close to call a week after voting.

Republicans are favored to win a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives on Nov. 8, though analysts say Democrats have a better chance of holding onto control of the Senate.

The loss of either chamber would bring Democratic President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda to a halt and give Republicans the power to launch distracting and potentially politically damaging investigations.

KEMP POISED FOR VICTORY

Opinion polls show Georgia incumbent Kemp well above the 50% threshold required to win the nomination outright and avoid a run-off against Perdue, who has repeated Trump’s falsehoods about losing Georgia due to widespread voter fraud.

In a radio interview on Monday, Perdue criticized Democrat Stacey Abrams, who is expected to face off against Kemp in a rematch of the 2018 election, after she decried Georgia’s high incarceration and maternal mortality rates.

“She ain’t from here. Let her go back where she came from if she doesn’t like it here,” he said. Abrams, who is Black, was born in Wisconsin and moved to Georgia with her family as a child.

Kemp’s surging campaign has drawn support from some high-profile Republicans who have themselves been targets for Trump’s ire, including Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence.

“Elections are about the future. There are those who want to make this election about the past,” Pence said at an election-eve rally for Kemp in Kennesaw on Monday night.

Echoing other Kemp supporters, retired tech sales executive Brian Seifried, 52, said in an interview in Atlanta that he liked Kemp’s pro-business policies, his hard line on immigration and his move to enact a sweeping set of voting restrictions after the 2020 election.

“President Trump’s endorsement did not have any sway over what I think is best for Georgia,” Seifried said.

Four other states – Alabama, Texas, Arkansas and Minnesota – were also holding primary elections on Tuesday.

In Alabama, U.S. Representative Mo Brooks, who lost Trump’s endorsement after saying it was time to move on from the 2020 election, is among those battling for a Senate seat. Trump-era White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders is favored to win the Republican gubernatorial nomination in Arkansas.

In Texas, a Democrat-on-Democrat congressional runoff election pits Henry Cuellar, the only House Democrat who opposes abortion rights, against progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros.

Herschel Walker, a former star running back at the University of Georgia and in the National Football League, has held a comfortable lead in opinion polls and would face incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock in November.

FACTBOX-Seven races to watch in Georgia, Alabama midterm primaries, Texas run-offsFACTBOX-Power of Trump’s endorsements faces test in 12 U.S. midterm primariesTexas AG Paxton squares off against Bush in Republican run-off

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World

Tedros re-elected as head of World Health Organization

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus addresses the 75th World Health Assembly at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, May 22, 2022. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

GENEVA (Reuters) -The World Health Organization’s (WHO) members re-elected Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as Director General by a strong majority for another five years, the president of the World Health Assembly said on Tuesday.

The vote by secret ballot, announced by Ahmed Robleh Abdilleh from Djibouti at a major annual meeting, was seen as a formality since Tedros was the only candidate running.

Ministers and delegates took turns to shake hands and hug Tedros, a former health minister from Ethiopia, who has steered the UN agency through a turbulent period dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The president had to use a gavel several times to interrupt the applause.

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach tweeted on Tuesday: “Just re-elected as ⁦Director General of #WHO: @DrTedros⁩. 155/160 votes, spectacular result. Congratulations, fully deserved. Germany recently overtook the United States as the UN health agency’s top donor.

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World

U.S. Senate candidate sues over mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania midterms primary

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2/2

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Republican Party U.S. Senate candidate David McCormick speaks to reporters after voting in the primary election at a polling station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. May 17, 2022. REUTERS/Quinn Glabicki/File Photo

2/2

(Reuters) – Republican U.S. Senate candidate David McCormick (NYSE:MKC) has filed a lawsuit in a Pennsylvania court to compel counties to count undated mail-in ballots in his primary race against TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz, whom he trails by less than 1,000 votes.

The race between McCormick, a former hedge fund executive, and Oz, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, for the Republican party nomination is close enough to trigger an automatic recount under Pennsylvania state law.

While McCormick is slightly behind Oz after the May 17 vote, he is well ahead of his opponent in absentee ballots, according to polling firm Edison Research. McCormick has received 45,794 mail-in votes, compared with Oz, who has 32,944.

In a statement, McCormick’s campaign said it sued on Monday in Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court “to compel the counties to follow the Republican-leaning (Third Circuit Court) order from last week stating that undated ballots returned on time be counted.”

The statement added that the ballots “are postmarked upon arrival to county boards of elections and, therefore, already dated and proven to be timely.”

It was not clear how many mail-in ballots lack a handwritten date, and whether counting them could help McCormick or make a recount less likely. State election officials expect to know this week whether a recount will be needed.

Pennsylvania’s Department of State, which oversees elections, said it agreed that undated ballots must be counted in the May 17 race, but advised they be “segregated” and “appropriately logged pending litigation.”

“A determination on whether the segregated tabulations will be used in certifying elections has not yet been made, given the ongoing litigation,” it said.

The Pennsylvania Republican Party said on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) that they “absolutely object to the counting of mail-in ballots. Pennsylvania law and our courts have been very clear that undated ballots are not to be counted.”

In a statement on Twitter, Oz called McCormick’s lawsuit “a tactic that could have long-term harmful consequences for elections in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

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