20-Year-Old Cashier Survived Buffalo Supermarket Shooting by Hiding Behind a Register
“[The shooter] walked past me twice. I was curled up in a ball at register 6. I did not move. He walked past me. He didn't realize I was there. I’m glad that he didn't,” Yahnia Brown-McReynold tells Inside Edition.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden traveled to Buffalo Tuesday to meet with relatives of the victims of last weekend’s grocery store massacre, paying respects at a makeshift memorial and speaking out on racial justice.
“The ideology of white supremacy has no place in America. None,” Biden said.
Meanwhile, survivors are sharing harrowing accounts of what it was like inside the store when the shooting happened.
Cashier Yahnia Brown-McReynolds, 20, hid behind a checkout station.
“He walked past me twice. I was curled up in a ball at register 6. I did not move. He walked past me. He didn't realize I was there. I’m glad that he didn't,” Brown-McReynold said.
Yahnia's mom also works at the supermarket. She says that security guard Aaron Salter confronted 18-year-old Payton Gendron, winning others enough time to find cover.
“That was what triggered me to run, when I saw him engaging the shooter,” she said.
Salter was killed in the shooting, along with nine other people.
Gendron’s family appears to be building the defense that Gendron became paranoid and isolated during the COVID-19 lockdown.
“He got into some nasty stuff. He's smart enough to get into dangerous stuff online, which maybe the average person wouldn’t know how to get into,” a cousin told the New York Post.
But the defense is undermined by Gendron's own chilling words he posted on social media. His meticulous step-by-step planning began three years ago, before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19.
Gendron says he considered targeting a shopping mall in Rochester, New York, and one in the nearby town of Greece, as well as supermarkets in Hempstead, Long Island.
He choreographed every detail, writing online, “I’ve been planning this attack for what seems like years now. Every day that goes by it feels less like a joke and more real.”
When he finally settled on the Tops supermarket in Buffalo, he decorated his AR-15 assault rifle with the names of other mass killers who are known white supremacists.
The video livestream of the attack shows the manager of the supermarket, Christopher Braden, getting shot in the leg. As he crawled away, the gunman took aim again and was about to open fire, when he paused, said “Sorry,” and spared the manager's life, because he is white.
Gendron allegedly posted a 180-page diatribe online filled with racist invective and praise for other mass killers. Police say he drove 200 miles from his home in Conklin to Buffalo, and specifically targeted the Tops supermarket because he knew it was in a Black neighborhood.
Gendron has pleaded not guilty to a single charge of first-degree murder. More charges are expected to come.
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