Buffalo shooter had mental health evaluation after threatening school last June

BUFFALO, NY (AP) — The 18-year-old white man who shot and killed 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket researched local demographics while looking for places with a high concentration of Black residents, going there. at least a day in advance to conduct reconnaissance, law enforcement officials said Sunday.

Authorities said the gunman shot a total of 11 Blacks and two whites Saturday in a rage fueled by racial hatred he had live-streamed.

“This person came here with the express purpose of taking as many black lives as possible,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at a news conference Sunday.

The shooter, identified as Payton Gendron, had previously threatened a shooting at his high school last June, a law enforcement official told the Associated Press. Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said the 17-year-old was then brought in for a subsequent mental health assessment.

Meanwhile, federal authorities are still working to confirm the veracity of the 180-page racist manifesto detailing the conspiracy and identifying Gendron as the gunman, law enforcement official. law told AP. But the shootings – the latest act of mass violence in a country already rattled by racial tensions, gun violence and a recent spate of hate crimes – left locals devastated. .

A preliminary investigation revealed that Gendron had repeatedly visited sites that espoused white supremacy and race-based conspiracy theories, and did extensive research into the home shootings. mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the man who killed dozens of people at a summer camp in Norway in 2011, law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the AP.

The manifesto, posted online and written by Gendron, outlines a racist ideology rooted in the belief that the United States should belong only to whites. All others, the document says, are “substitutes” who should be removed by force or terror. The attack was intended to intimidate all non-whites, non-Christians and force them to leave the country, it said.

Gendron came into the spotlight of police last year after he threatened to carry out a shooting at Susquehanna High School around the time of graduation, the official said. New York State Police said soldiers were called to Conklin School on June 8, 2021 to reports that a 17-year-old student had made threats.

The law enforcement official was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation and did so on condition of anonymity.

Gendron, confronting police in the store’s lobby, holds a rifle to his neck but is persuaded to put it down. He was charged the following Saturday with murder, appearing before a judge in a paper robe.

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Federal agents interviewed Gendron’s parents and served multiple search warrants, the law enforcement official told the AP. Gendron’s parents cooperated with investigators, the official said.

It’s not immediately clear why Gendron traveled about 200 miles from his hometown of Conklin, New York, to Buffalo and that particular grocery store, but investigators believe Gendron specifically researched the person. demographics of the population around Tops Friendly Market, the official said. . The manifesto allegedly targeted the area code with the highest percentage of nearby Blacks.

During a press conference on Sunday, Gramaglia said that Gendron had arrived in town “at least a day before”.

“It looks like he came here to expand the scope of the area, to do a little scouting of the area before committing his evil, morbid deed,” Gramaglia said.

The Latest on the Buffalo Supermarket Shooting

Among the dead was security guard Aaron Salter – a retired Buffalo police officer – who fired multiple shots at Gendron, Gramaglia said Saturday. One bullet hit the gunman’s armor, but had no effect. Gendron then kills Salter, before hunting more victims.

“He cares about the community. He took care of the store,” Yvette Mack, who had shopped at Tops earlier on Saturday, said of Salter. “He did a good job you know. He is very good and respectable”.

Also killed was Ruth Whitfield, 86, mother of retired Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told churchgoers he saw the former fire official at the scene of Saturday’s shooting, looking for his mother.

“My mom just went to see my dad, like every day, in the nursing home and stopped at Tops to get some groceries. And no one has heard from her,” Whitfield told the mayor afterward. Brown said she was confirmed as a victim within the day.

Katherine Massey, who went to the store to pick up some groceries, was also killed, according to Buffalo News. The names of the remaining victims have not been released.

“We pray for their families. But after we pray – after we get up – we must ask for change. We must demand justice,” State Attorney General Letitia James said during an emotional church service in Buffalo on Sunday morning. “This is domestic terrorism, plain and simple.”

The Buffalo attack comes just a month after a shooting on the Brooklyn subway left 10 people injured and just over a year after 10 people were killed in a shooting at a Colorado supermarket.

Associated Press reporter Robert Bumsted contributed reporting from Buffalo, New York. Balsamo reports from Washington.

https://www.wkrn.com/news/national/buffalo-shooter-had-mental-health-evaluation-after-threatening-school-last-june/ Buffalo shooter had mental health evaluation after threatening school last June

Alley Einstein

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