Aaron Salter, Katherine Massey, Celestine Chaney, Roberta Drury, Pearly Young, Ruth Whitfield, Heyward Patterson, Margus D. Morrison, Andre Mackneil, Geraldine Talley. Those are the names of the people senselessly murdered by an 18-year-old white man named Payton Gendron.
As reports have since revealed, Gendron is the suspect who carried out the hate crime that took place at a Buffalo, New York grocery store. According to NBC News, eleven of the 13 individuals killed or injured in the attack were Black.
According to CNN, four of the victims were shot in the parking lot before an armed security guard met Gendron upon entering the store. The security guard, now identified as Aaron Salter, engaged in a shoot out with Gendron—who was wearing full tactical gear.
As police arrived, Gendron surrendered after taking off some of his tactical gear. However, it’s believed the shooter had plans to continue his attack elsewhere. Salter died from his injuries.
Now, law enforcement officials are calling this a hate crime. Gendron’s support for white supremacy was detailed in the 180-page manifesto he wrote and published online. Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told Good Morning America that the shooter had a very specific plan when he drove more than 200 miles to the Buffalo, New York store.
“It appeared that his plans were to drive out of here and continue driving down Jefferson Avenue looking to shoot more Black people as he could and possibly go to another store location.” It’s believed Gendron “did some reconnaissance on the area and in the store” before he carried out the deadly attack.
Documents that belonged to the shooter revealed he picked Buffalo as his location because Buffalo was a city with a high number of Black residents. The gun he used was purchased legally but then modified with parts that made it illegal in the state of New York.
CNN reports that in his manifesto, Gendron wrote about the “dwindling size” of the white population and even called out other gunmen responsible for mass shootings, like Dylann Roof.
Prior to the event that transpired on Saturday, Gendron was known for making threatening comments.
According to The Associated Press, Gendron was hospitalized after he threatened to carry out a school shooting while attending Susquehanna Valley High School, in Conklin, New York. Reports have revealed that New York State Police was called to the high school in June 2021 to investigate the threats around the time of his graduation.
As a result of the threats, Gendron was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation. He was then hospitalized for a day and a half.
Legally, nothing else was done, and no charges were filed against Gendron for the threats he made. New York does have “red flag” laws, which allow people, and law enforcement officers, to petition the courts to temporarily seize any firearms—or prevent them from buying any firearms—in an effort to prevent mass shootings.
At the time of Gendron’s initial threat, the “red flag” law was never enacted. Commissioner Gramaglia said the 2021 threats were “general,” but that “Nobody called in. Nobody called any complaints.”
The gun was also reportedly brandished with racial slurs. As The New York Post reports, the man who sold Gendron the gun has also spoken out.
Robert Donald of Vintage Firearms in Endicott, NY said he had no idea that he was the one who sold Gendron the firearm until federal agents notified him. “I knew nothing about it until I got the call from them,” Donald reportedly told The New York Times. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Based on the paperwork Donald had regarding the gun sale, he admits that no red flags appeared during the background check. “He didn’t stand out. Because if he did, I would’ve never sold him the gun,” Donald admitted.
“I don’t understand why an 18-year-old would even do this. I know I didn’t do anything wrong, but I feel terrible about it,” Donald shared.
In response to the modifications Gendron made to the AR-15, Donald said, “Even with all of those safety features on it — which is the only way I sell it — any gun can be easily modified if you really want to do it.” While the timeframe of when Gendron purchased this firearm isn’t public knowledge, it’s unclear why the teen’s past threats wouldn’t have shown up in his background check.
“This was pure evil,” Erie County Sheriff John C. Garcia said of the shooting, according to CNN. Gendron has since been charged with first-degree murder. He has since pleaded not guilty.
Racist Teen Who Killed 11 Shoppers in Buffalo Feared the ‘Dwindling’ Number of White People, Liz Cheney Says Top Lawmakers Are to Blame
Since the motive behind the shooting has been made public, some of our nation’s leaders have spoken out. Republican Representative Liz Cheney is one of those leaders.
In her statement, Cheney blamed top lawmakers for “white nationalism, white supremacy, and antisemitism.” On Twitter, Cheney directly called out the GOP.
“The House GOP leadership has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism. History has taught us that what begins with words ends in far worse. @GOP leaders must renounce and reject these views and those who hold them.”
Just two days ago, fellow Republican Representative Adam Kinsinger called out the woman who replaced Cheney as the #3 in the house GOP, Elise Stefanik. Kinsinger shared an article slamming Stefanik for an ad that pushed the “great replacement theory.”
“Ms. Stefanik isn’t so brazen as to use the slogans themselves; rather, she couches the hate in alarmist, anti-immigrant rhetoric that’s become standard fare for the party of Donald Trump,” the Times Union reported in their editorial after calling her ad “despicable.”
“And she doesn’t quite attack immigrants directly; instead, she alleges the Democrats are looking to grant citizenship to undocumented immigrants in order to gain a permanent liberal majority, or, as she calls it, a ‘permanent election insurrection,’” the editorial continues. “Quite a choice of words, of course, considering that the country is still suffering the aftershocks of the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington by supporters of Mr. Trump who tried to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.”
Sara Vallone has been a writer and editor for the last four and a half years. A graduate of Ohio University, she enjoys celebrity news, sports, and articles that enhance people’s lives.
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