Authorities revealed that the 18-year-old white man accused of killing 10 people in a Buffalo supermarket during a racist massacre against black people had previously made a threat at his high school. However, they claim that Payton Gendron was never charged with a crime and had no further contact with law enforcement after he was released from the hospital.
The revelation raised questions about whether his run-in with police and the mental health system was another missed opportunity to put a would-be murderer under greater scrutiny by law enforcement, get him help, or make sure he didn’t have access to firearms. deadly fire before Saturday’s attack on the Tops Friendly Market supermarket.
Authorities said Sunday they were investigating the attack on predominantly black shoppers and workers at the supermarket as a possible federal hate crime or an act of domestic terrorism.
Payton Gendron, 18, traveled about 200 miles (320 kilometers) from his home in Conklin, New York, to Buffalo to carry out the attack, police said.
Federal authorities are still trying to confirm the authenticity of a 180-page racist manifesto that was posted online, allegedly written by Gendron, in which he described his plan to terrorize all non-white and non-Christian people and cause them to leave the country.
Authorities revealed Sunday that New York State Police officers responded to Gendron’s high school in June last year after receiving a report that he, then a 17-year-old student, had made threats.
A member of security forces told The Associated Press on Sunday that Gendron had threatened to carry out a shooting at the Susquehanna Valley High School to coincide with the graduation. The agent spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Gendron was taken for a psychiatric evaluation that put him in a hospital for a day and a half, but had no further contact with law enforcement after that.