The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Suspect in Buffalo shooting was investigated last year over threat

Residents of Buffalo are still reeling after a gunman launched a racially motivated attack at a grocery store, killing 10 people. (Video: Zoeann Murphy/The Washington Post)

An 18-year-old White man is accused of opening fire Saturday at a supermarket in Buffalo, killing 10 people and injuring three others, said law enforcement officials, who are investigating the incident as a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism. Eleven of the 13 people shot were Black.

Two law enforcement officials told The Washington Post that the suspect in the case, Payton Gendron, was investigated less than a year ago by state police after they received a report that he’d made a threatening statement at his high school. A state police spokesman didn’t confirm the name, but said that a student at the high school was taken into custody on June 8, 2021, and evaluated at a mental hospital. He was not charged.

Here’s what to know

  • A spokesperson for the live-streaming platform Twitch said the gunman began filming and sharing the attack, but the company removed the stream two minutes after the violence started.
  • One of the victims was a security guard at the store, who fired back, but the gunman’s body armor deflected the shot. A law enforcement official called the security guard a “hero.”
  • The gunman was allegedly inspired by a racist idea that has gained currency on popular right-wing television programs and in the halls of Congress.