Payton Gendron, suspect in Buffalo shooting, may have planned attack months ago; posted online writings: Authorities

BUFFALO, NY — Authorities say the suspect who fatally shot 10 people and injured three others at a Buffalo convenience store on Saturday had traveled hours away from another New York county and that the attack may have been planned months earlier .

Defendant Payton Gendron, 18, of Conklin, New York, wore a hospital gown and was charged with first-degree murder in court Saturday night and jailed without bail.

Investigators believe that prior to the mass shooting, Gendron posted a 180-page document online detailing a plan for the attack and his support for several mass murderers.

The suspect is believed to have authored the document based on a theory that whites are being replaced.

“The shooter traveled hours from outside of this community to commit this crime against the people of Buffalo on a day when people were enjoying the sun, enjoying family, enjoying friends,” the mayor of Buffalo, Byron Brown, at a press conference Saturday night. “People in a supermarket, shopping and bullets are raining down on them. People’s lives are taken for no reason in the blink of an eye.”

Gendron pleaded not guilty but could face the rest of his life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder. There are likely to be more charges at the federal level.

Police officials say Gendron, who is white, was wearing body armor and military-style clothing when he stopped and opened fire on people at a Tops Friendly Market. The shooting was streamed via a camera attached to his helmet.

Officials said they were still working to figure out how the suspect got his guns.

In a previous interaction with law enforcement, police in Broome County, New York, were called by a local high school last June after reporting that Gendron had threatened a shooting upon graduation or during the time confirmed with the matter trusted law enforcement sources told ABC News.

State police investigated, no charges were filed, and Gendron received a mental health evaluation and counseling.

Meanwhile, neighbors of the Gendron family told ABC News the neighborhood had an almost “Leave-It-to-Beaver”-like feel, describing the family as friendly.

The suspect’s parents, Paul and Pamela Gendron, are both engineers and their son was until recently studying at nearby Broom SUNY Community College in hopes of making a career in the field. A spokesman for Broom SUNY confirmed that Gendron was a former student.

In a press conference on Saturday, Gov. Kathy Hochul slammed “social media platforms” for manifesting hatred and not immediately shutting down Gendrons Live broadcast.

Although she didn’t name a single website, an administration official confirmed that she was referring to Twitch, an Amazon live streaming site popular with gamers.

“The social media platforms that benefit from their existence must be responsible for surveillance and surveillance, knowing that in a sense they can be an accomplice to such a crime. Maybe not legally, but morally. They created the platform for this hatred to be spewed out,” Hochul said.

Hochul also said that there is “a feeding frenzy on social media platforms where hate breeds more hate”.

“That has to stop. These media need to be more vigilant in monitoring social media content. And certainly the fact that this act of barbarism, this execution of innocent people, could be livestreamed on social media platforms and not shut down in a second tells me there is a responsibility out there,” the governor added.

Twitch claims it took Gendron’s channel offline within two minutes of the shooting and issued a statement saying:

“We are devastated to learn of the shooting that took place in Buffalo, New York this afternoon. Our hearts go out to the community affected by the tragedy. Twitch has a zero tolerance policy for violence of any kind and works quickly to respond to any incidents. The user has been banned from our service indefinitely and we are taking all reasonable action, including monitoring any accounts re-broadcasting this content.”

A 2019 shooting at a Jewish synagogue in Halle, Germany was also streamed live on Twitch.

Law enforcement is also looking at messaging platform Discord, where the shooter may have created a list of instructions for himself. Discord was used by white supremacists to plan the 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

CNN contributed to this report

Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All rights reserved. Payton Gendron, suspect in Buffalo shooting, may have planned attack months ago; posted online writings: Authorities

Chrissy Callahan

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