Buffalo massacre survivor recalls horror as gunman unloaded round after round into grocery store shoppers

News & Politics

Buffalo, New York, supermarket massacre survivor Julie Harwell said that she was visiting her local grocery store on Saturday when a gunman began shooting at shoppers.

What are the details?

Harwell told the Washington Post that she, her partner, and her 8-year-old daughter were shopping for a barbecue when she heard shots ring out.

She initially believed the attack to be part of a robbery, but quickly realized that a gunman was systematically gunning down shoppers rather than holding up a cashier.

Authorities said that 18-year-old Payton Gendron began firing off too many rounds to count.

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“By the time I called [the names of her partner and daughter], I heard more shots,” she recalled.

She immediately dropped to her stomach and began crawling away from the direction of the gunshots.

She would later find out that her partner and daughter were able to take refuge in the store’s coolers to remain safe.

“Something told me to get up and run,” Harwell recalled.

She ran but quickly found herself face to face with the suspect and a female shopper. The suspect, according to Harwell, fatally shot the shopper, which gave her time to run.

“If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be alive,” Harwell added. “She lunged at him, and that’s why she’s dead. I don’t even know her name. I want to tell her family thank you.”

Approximately 20 minutes after the shooting began, police evacuated Harwell and other survivors through the supermarket’s north side.

“I just cried the rest of the day,” Harwell said.

She added that her daughter has been doing her best to cope with the aftermath.

“She’s been better than everyone else,” Harwell said, “She’s been talking to me, keeping me in good spirits.”

Authorities took Gendron into custody without incident.

He was arraigned on Saturday on charges of first-degree murder and was ordered held without bail. If Gendron is found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole.

At least 10 people were killed in the attack, which authorities said was motivated by hate.

The victims range in age from 20 to 86.

Gendron is due back in court on May 19.

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