Buffalo descends into chaos, as store owners open fire on looters

Buffalo store owner opens fire on looters – while frozen body of dad-to-be is found after he went out to buy supplies for nine-month pregnant wife – as city reels from worst storm this century

  • Looters were warned store owners had taken up arms amid a string of robberies
  • Group of Arab small businessmen were seen chasing a looter through the snow
  • Police say that eight arrests have been made so far 
  • The chaos comes as 31 people have been reported dead in the city
  • Death toll includes father-to-be Abdul Sharifu, 26, a refugee from the Congo

Buffalo has fallen into chaos after the blizzard of the century killed 31 people and sparked looting across the city, leaving store owners to fend for themselves. 

Dozens of videos posted online show brazen thieves taking advantage of the mess, with the Buffalo Police Department arresting eight people so far.

The department shared a series of videos of the ransacked stores throughout the city, as clips also emerged of store owners taking on the looters themselves. 

One such video, taken by a man outside the Sky’s The Limit hair salon on Bailey Avenue, warns that the local Arab small business community has taken up arms against looters. 

The group is seen confronting a suspect in the streets.  It then chases the person down the snow-covered driveway of the salon, with panicked screams heard in the background as one of the men opens fire at the fleeing suspect. 

Amid the chaos, residents are also mourning the latest victims discovered in the storm, including Abdul Sharifu, 26, a refugee from the Congo who had gone out to buy groceries for his nine-month-pregnant wife to weather the storm.   

Looters were warned that store owners in Buffalo had taken up arms to protect their businesses. A group of Arab small businessmen were seen chasing a looter in the snow-covered streets, with one man opening fire at the suspect 

Sharifu had left his wife Gloria with friends and family on Christmas Eve as he ventured into the storm to buy supplies. 

Unfortunately, the father-to-be did not return home, and his family shared desperate pleas on social media to help track him down. 

Abdul Sharifu, 26, a refugee from the Congo who settled in Buffalo, was among the 31 dead in the city from the storm after venturing out for supplies for his nine-month-pregnant wife 

Sharifu, who came to Buffalo in 2017 to start a new life with his wife, was found dead, lying in the snow, on December 26. 

Officials said the 26-year-old froze to death after abandoning his car on Main Street and trying to walk home. 

His cousin, Ally, has started a GoFundMe to help pay for Sharifu’s funeral expenses and to help his wife, who is due to have their baby this week. 

The devastating snow storm that struck during the holidays has left 65 people dead so far across the country, with officials still looking for any more bodies. 

Buffalo has been likened to a war zone, with struggling emergency crews expecting the death toll to rise further.

And the situation has only been exacerbated by the spike in looting, as thieves trudged over mounds of snow to get into abandoned storefronts — like a Dollar General, where shelves were overturned and items were scattered across the ground. 

Residents filmed some of the thieves as they entered the store and left with handfuls of items like paper towels and toilet paper. One shameless woman even posted a Facebook Live of her and her friends grabbing items from the store. 

Others were filmed hauling away televisions, and security footage caught one man breaking the glass of a liquor store door, where he allegedly stole $500 worth of goods.

The store owner told WKBW reporter Michael Schwartz that he had to stay in the store overnight because he was unable to board up the hole amid the storm.

Police shared a series of videos showing stores ransacked in Buffalo during the storm 

Eight arrests have been made so far with the damage still being surveyed in the city 

He added that the thief has ‘cheap and bad taste.’ 

Photos shared online also showed a Fasttrac convenience store in disarray, with the user noting that the perpetrators were not stealing food or medicine.

‘So these people aren’t people in distress — these are people that are taking advantage of a natural disaster and the suffering of many in our community to take what they want from retailers.’ 

County Executive Mark Poloncarz said Monday that authorities were investigating the widespread reports of looting in the city.

A group of brazen thieves were caught on camera stealing a television from an abandoned storefront amid a historic blizzard in Buffalo, New York

‘I’m heartbroken about the deaths, just absolutely devastated to see as many deaths,’ he said at a news conference. ‘And then to find out that there’s looting going on in our community at the same time we’re still recovering bodies is just horrible.’

Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia added: ‘We have made a few arrests, we have intervened in some of those. We have assisted at least one location that I’m aware of in getting a store boarded up.’ 

Buffalo Police did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for additional comment on the looting and shooting incident.  

One brazen thief even filmed herself on Facebook Live as she and a friend looted from a dollar store, where shelves have been overturned and items are scattered across the ground

Photos shared online also showed a Fasttrac convenience store in disarray, with the user noting that the perpetrators were not stealing food or medicine.

Over 92 inches of snow blanketed Buffalo from Friday to Sunday, which is about the same amount the city generally sees in a year.

The perfect storm of fierce snow, howling wind and sub-zero temperatures forced the cancellation of almost 20,000 US flights in recent days, including some 3,200 on Tuesday, according to tracking site Flightaware.com.

Most of the cancellations were at Southwest Airlines, which pulled more than 60 percent of its flights due to cascading logistics issues, earning it a rebuke from the US government.

The Department of Transportation tweeted that it was ‘concerned by Southwest’s unacceptable rate of cancellations’ and would examine if the company was ‘complying with its customer service plan,’ while the US Senate committee overseeing aviation said it would look into causes that ‘go beyond weather.’

Buffalo’s international airport remains closed until Wednesday morning and a driving ban remains in effect for the city.

President Joe Biden declared an emergency and has committed Federal assistance to supplement State and local response efforts. 

Buffalo is slowly reeling back from the chaos that engulfed it during the deadly snow storm 

Houses along Lake Erie are still covered in snow and there are concerns rapid melt could cause flooding

This neighborhood is blanketed in a thick layer of snow and ice after the storm

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