The teenager accused in Saturday’s Buffalo supermarket attack had once threatened to shoot his high school classmates but was still able to legally purchase three firearms, reports and sources said.
Payton Gendron, 18, of Conklin, New York, had sparked a state police investigation last year in Broome County that led him to be referred for a mental health evaluation and counseling, according to The Buffalo News.
“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 familiar with the case told the paper.
Clad in tactical gear, Gendron opened fire at a Tops Friendly Market in a predominantly black neighborhood Saturday afternoon, officials said. The white teen allegedly killed 10 people and injured three others. Eleven of the victims were black.
The semi-automatic rifle that was used to commit the massacre had the “n-word” painted on the barrel, along with the number 14, officials told the local paper.
The number reportedly refers to a 14-word statement attributed to a white supremacist terror organization.
“We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white people,” the statement reportedly reads.
In addition to the semi-automatic weapon, Gendron also had a hunting rifle and a shotgun, which were recently purchased legally, law enforcement sources told The Post.
Gendron had attended SUNY Broome Community College but was no longer enrolled, according to the report.
He had driven about 210 miles in his parents’ car to commit the atrocity, alleged authorities.
A manifesto purportedly written by the suspect said he began planning the attack in January after being radicalized with racial hatred online.