The white 18-year-old who shot and killed 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket had searched for the demographics of the local area ahead of the shooting, reported the Associated Press. Reports say he picked out Buffalo because of its high ratio of Black residents and even arrived a day in advance.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown offered more information on the suspect, Payton Gendron, at a news conference Sunday. The investigation found Gendron’s motives were rooted in a racist ideology that the US should only belong to white people and that Black people were mere “replacers” who need to be eliminated, per AP News.
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“This individual came here with the express purpose of taking as many Black lives as he possibly could,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said.
The document said Gendron researched demographics to select his target, and picked a neighborhood in Buffalo because it had a high ratio of Black residents.
Gendron traveled about 200 miles (320 kilometers) from his home in Conklin, New York, to Buffalo to commit the attack, police said.
He conducted reconnaissance on the store and the area on Friday, a day before the shooting, Gramaglia said.
Gendron had previously threatened to carry out a shooting last year, according to NBC News. He was investigated by New York State Police for making the threat and at the time was transported to a mental health facility for evaluation.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said he was evaluated and released with no charges or complaints, per NBC. At the time, he said, there was nothing for the state police or FBI to pick up now. Now, after the shooting, Gramaglia said a lengthy investigation is necessary on federal and local levels.
“It will be prosecuted as a hate crime. This is someone who has hate in their heart, soul and mind,” he said via NBC.
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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said at the news conference that the suspect was investigated before her time in office and that she would look for answers into what happened.
“I understand the First Amendment rights very well. I have no intention of impinging upon them,” Hochul said. “However, hate speech is not protected. ... There are parameters if you’re going to be inciting people to violence. That’s not protected.”
The Gun Violence Archive reported this is to be the 198th mass shooting this year. They’ve been steadily rising since 2019.