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Vice President Kamala Harris forcefully condemned this weekend's mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., connecting the incident to racist attacks in other parts of the country.
"Law enforcement is proceeding with its investigation, but what is clear is that we are seeing an epidemic of hate across our country that has been evidenced by acts of violence and intolerance," Harris said Sunday in a statement.
"We must call it out and condemn it," Harris added.
President Biden similarly said on Sunday that the country must work together to eliminate the "hate that remains a stain on the soul of America."
"A lone gunman, armed with weapons of war and a hate-filled soul, shot and killed 10 innocent people in cold blood," Biden said during an event honoring law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty.
Ten people were killed in the Saturday attack on Tops Friendly Market, a grocery store in a Black neighborhood of Buffalo. Eleven of the 13 people who were shot were Black, police said.
Officials are investigating whether the shooter, identified as 18-year-old Payton Gendron, intentionally targeted the Black community. They are also working to confirm a purported 180-page manifesto, filled with racist screeds, that outlines a plot to kill Black people.
“This is an absolute racist hate crime. It will prosecuted as a hate crime,” Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Sunday.
The mass shooting evoked memories of the 2019 attack on an El Paso, Texas, Walmart, where a gunman killed 23 people after allegedly sharing his own racist manifesto. A year before that, another shooter with a history of racist online posts attacked a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 people.
"Racially motivated hate crimes or acts of violent extremism are harms against all of us, and we must do everything we can to ensure that our communities are safe from such acts," Harris said.
She also said she was praying for the victims.
"Today our hearts are broken and we grieve for the victims of the horrific act of gun violence in Buffalo and for their families and friends. The second gentleman and I are praying for all those who knew and lost love ones," Harris said.