Law enforcement officers are investigating whether a retired federal agent had foreknowledge of the Buffalo supermarket shooter’s plot.
“Authorities believe the former agent – believed to be from Texas – was one of at least six individuals who regularly communicated with accused gunman Payton Gendron in an online chat room where racist hatred was discussed, the two officials said,” The Buffalo News reports.
Retired Federal Agent Was in Regular Communication with Buffalo Shooter and May Have Had Advance Notice of Gendron's Plans to Murder Black People https://t.co/SzD2O6MdXV
— Cassandra MacDonald (@CassandraRules) May 27, 2022
NOTHING is as it seems https://t.co/FNGAPo3OIX
— Daniel Horowitz (@RMConservative) May 27, 2022
From The Buffalo News:
The two law enforcement sources with direct knowledge of the investigation stated these individuals were invited by Gendron to read about his mass shooting plans and the target location about 30 minutes before Gendron killed 10 people at Tops Markets on Jefferson Avenue on May 14.
The News could not determine if the retired agent accepted the invitation.“These were like-minded people who used this chat group to talk about their shared interests in racial hatred, replacement theory and hatred of anyone who is Jewish, a person of color or not of European ancestry,” said one of the two law enforcement officials with close knowledge of the investigation. “What is especially upsetting is that these six people received advanced notice of the Buffalo shooting, about 30 minutes before it happened.“The FBI has verified that none of these people called law enforcement to warn them about the shooting. The FBI database shows no advance tips from anyone that this shooting was about to happen.”Agents from the FBI are in the process of tracking down and interviewing the six people, including the retired agent, and attempting to determine if any of them should be charged as accomplices, the two sources with close knowledge of the probe told The Buffalo News.
“It will be outrageous if it turns out that a former law enforcement officer had advance notice of the shooting and did nothing to prevent it,” said Buffalo civil rights attorney John V. Elmore.
“If he had advance notice, he had a moral obligation to get on the phone and try to notify someone about it,” said Elmore, who represents the family of Andre Mackniel, who was shot dead when he went to Tops to buy a birthday cake for his 3-year-old son.
FBI agents are also trying to determine the identity of an individual Gendron calls “Sandman,” and “Saint Sandman” in his lengthy social media diary that appeared on Discord 30 minutes before the attack, the sources said.
The Daily Mail noted:
The 18-year-old accused killer claims Sandman offered insight about AR-15 manufacturers and product quality before he purchased the gun used in the shooting.
Gendron, who referenced Sandman three times in his writings, allegedly quoted the individual in a post he made on May 2.
‘When the time finally comes to deal decisively with a whole host of society’s problems, and not go to prison for it, you’ll know. Just be ready. You have spent your entire life, from the day you were born, right up to this very moment, reading this sentence, coming to where you are right now,’ Sandman allegedly told the teen.
‘Look around you. Are you content with where you are right now? Are you where you want to be? If so, continue to march. If not, what are you going to do? What’s your plan? Get and keep your mind, body, and spirit right. Pray. Lift. Run. Read. Shoot. And teach your kids to do those things.’
Shortly before the attack, Gendron posted hundreds of pages of writings online, detailing his plans for the assault and his racist motivation.
The diary said Gendron planned his attack in secret, with no outside help, but Discord has since confirmed that an invitation to access his private writings was sent to a small group of people about 30 minutes before the assault began.
Officials have confirmed that some of them accepted the invitation but did not clarify as to how many read what Gendron had written or logged on to view his assault in real time.