The gunman suspected of killing 10 and wounding three in a Saturday shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, previously threatened a shooting at his high school, according to a law enforcement official.
Payton Gendron, 18, was investigated by police after making a threat in June 2021 to conduct a shooting at his high school, a law enforcement official speaking on the condition of anonymity told the Associated Press. Gendron was then taken for a mental health evaluation, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia confirmed.
“A school official reported that this very troubled young man had made statements indicating that he wanted to do a shooting, either at a graduation ceremony, or sometime after,” a government official confirmed to the Buffalo News regarding Gendron’s previous threats.
Police accused Gendron, a white man, of driving from “hours away” to wreak havoc in a predominantly black neighborhood. Eleven of the victims were black, and two were white, Stephen Belongia, the special agent leading the FBI‘s field office in Buffalo, said, adding that this case was being investigated as a hate crime and a “case of racially motivated violent extremism,” according to the New York Times.
Gendron, dressed in tactical gear with a helmet on, livestreamed the shooting at Tops Friendly Market to Twitch, Gramaglia said. Two minutes after Gendron started livestreaming, Twitch took his channel offline, officials said.
“We are devastated to hear about the shooting that took place this afternoon in Buffalo, New York. Our hearts go out to the community impacted by this tragedy,” Twitch said in a statement to News 4 Buffalo. “Twitch has a zero-tolerance policy against violence of any kind and works swiftly to respond to all incidents. The user has been indefinitely suspended from our service, and we are taking all appropriate action, including monitoring for any accounts rebroadcasting this content.”
Gendron was arraigned before Buffalo City Court Chief Judge Craig Hannah on Saturday on one count of first-degree murder, according to a press release from Eric County District Attorney John Flynn. A felony hearing for Gendron has been scheduled for May 19, and he has been remanded without the option of bail. If found guilty, Gendron could face a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole.
Gendron pleaded not guilty during his arraignment.