Police say an 18-year-old man, Payton Gendron, is suspected of shooting 13 people in total with a semi-automatic rifle during the attack, which he allegedly live streamed online.
One of the employees, who identified herself only as Latisha, called news outlet WRGZ saying she dialled 911 as the attack unfolded but a dispatcher yelled at her and ended the call.
Latisha told WRGZ: "I didn't really see much at all. I just heard the gunshots and just dropped down to the ground and just waited for him to stop and he just wouldn't stop.”
Latisha said when she called 911 she whispered down the phone, because she didn’t want to draw attention to herself from the gunman, but said she was then yelled at before the operator hung up.
"When I whispered on the phone to 911, the dispatcher would start yelling at me saying 'Why are you whispering? You don't have to whisper', and I'm trying to tell her ma'am he's in the store, he's shooting, it's an active shooter, I'm scared for my life."
Latisha then said that as the active gunman made his way through the store, she had to ring her partner and get him to call the police for her.
She added: “She said something crazy to me, and she hung up in my face. I had to call my boyfriend to tell him to call 911.”
During a visit to the city of Buffalo after the attack, US President Joe Biden attacked those who spread white supremacist information online for “power, political gain and profit”.
He added: “Hate will not prevail and white supremacy will not have the last word.”
The police continue to investigate Gendron’s posts online, including a 180-page manifesto they believe he has written surrounding the conspiracy theory of ‘great replacement’, in which followers believe white populations are being intentionally overwhelmed by other ethnicities through high birth rates and immigration.
The author of the manifesto claims to be aligned politically with the ‘authoritarian left’, which, according to a study led by Emory University’s Thomas S Costello is and ideology which promotes “preference for social uniformity, prejudice towards different others, willingness to wield group authority to coerce behaviour, cognitive rigidity, aggression and punitiveness towards perceived enemies, outsized concern for hierarchy, and moral absolutism”.