'Love will win': Buffalo residents grieve but come together in solidarity after mass shooting

ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore spoke to those grieving the loss of their loved ones, with many fearing what could happen next

As people grieve in this northern US city of Buffalo, they are also terrified about what lies ahead. 

Some residents fear that there will be white supremacist copycat attacks which could then trigger reprisals.

One local resident, Demetria Burgess, told me bluntly that she fears a race war. Her mother, who narrowly escaped death on Saturday afternoon, is now refusing to leave her home.

You can understand the anger and the sense of betrayal. The more we learn about the suspect, Payton Gendron, the more shocking it becomes that he was free to buy weapons and launch his attack on this proud and mostly African American neighbourhood.

It is now being reported that last year Gendron had made threats against his high school, and that it was recommended that he undergo a mental health evaluation. Days later he was released from psychiatric hospital and fell off the radar of investigators.

The teenager then walked into a gun store and - legally - purchased multiple firearms. He was free to commit one of the most horrifying racist massacres of recent years.

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It is clear from his manifesto that Gendron existed on the fringes of far-right, white supremacist ideology.

At the centre of his world was Great Replacement Theory - the wild and grotesquely paranoid suggestion that the white population is under threat.

This obsession has driven several extremist attacks in America and around the world. The Pittsburgh synagogue attacker in 2018 spoke of immigrant invaders. A year later, in the border town of El Paso - two thousand miles from here - a gunman massacred 23 people in a supermarket claiming Texas was being invaded.

The atrocity here in Buffalo also appears to have echoes with the New Zealand attack on two mosques in 2019.  In both Christchurch and Buffalo, the gunmen released a manifesto with remarkably similar language and then used social media platforms to livestream their depravity.

But if the intention is to create a race war it would appear to be failing.

'Produce more love': Buffalo pastor Tim Newkirk reflects after the shooting

Last night at the scene of the shooting, we saw not division, but solidarity. Not hysteria, but composure and harmony.

I spoke to a local pastor, Tim Newkirk, and he had a message of hope, telling me that Buffalo will not fall into the well of hate. He suggested that despite the provocation love will win.

It is a desperately needed message at a time of such grief and bewilderment.