BUFFALO – The investigation into Buffalo’s racially-motivated mass shooting is moving forward Monday, with officials revealing more about the alleged gunman.
18-year-old Payton Gendron is accused of shooting 13 and killing 10, citing “white replacement theory” beliefs as the reason he allegedly traveled across New York State to attack the Tops Market in the heart of Buffalo’s Black community.
“As we said, this is going to be a very lengthy investigation. There are warrants that have been obtained, there are warrants that will continue to be obtained, both on the state and federal levels. We’ll be looking at extensive digital platforms, computers, phones, cameras, and anything else that comes into play in this investigation” assured Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia.
Gendron had previously been brought in for mental health evaluation by the state police, but Gramaglia said once released, there was no intelligence to suggest any further concern.
“The evidence that we have uncovered so far makes no mistake, that this is an absolute racist hate crime,” says Gramaglia. “It will be prosecuted as a hate crime. This is someone who has hate in their heart, soul, and mind. And there is no mistake that this is the direction this is going in. This will be completely geared toward securing a conviction for this individual.”
Erie County Sheriff John Garcia says the inmate is under suicide watch, and separated from all others incarcerated.
“I’m not gonna mention this individual by name. He doesn’t deserve that. We should never mention his name. As far as we’re concerned, he is inmate control number 157103. I can state this, he is in our custody. He will remain in our custody until further notice,” says Garcia.
In addition to local and state law enforcement, the FBI is also assisting. New York Attorney General Letitia James says that officials are ready to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.
“I want to thank the District Attorney and the assistant United States Attorney General who will be prosecuting these cases. I want to thank DA Flynn and of course the assistant United States Attorney General for the Western District, Miss Trini Ross for all that they are doing. I know that they will bring the full weight of the United States of America to bear justice and to bring justice on behalf of this community,” says James.
Though the police caught and apprehended Gendron quickly, Governor Kathy Hochul fears that misinformation could lead to other tragedies.
“We don’t know whether there’s other people who are now gonna be inspired, which is exactly what this cruel depraved person intended. If you read the manifesto, he intended to make sure that other people would see what happened in real time here. So they would consider other acts as well. That’s what has to shut down right now,” says Hochul.
The Governor called for “smarter” federal gun laws and for social media platforms to improve their tracking and identifying abilities for hate speech.