The white 18-year-old gunman who killed 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket in a “racially motivated” attack had previously threatened a shooting at his high school and was sent for mental health treatment, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press.
The gunman, Payton Gendron threatened to carry out a shooting at Susquehanna High School around the time of graduation last June.
“A school official reported that this very troubled young man had made statements indicating that he wanted to do a shooting, either at a graduation ceremony, or sometime after,” a government official familiar with the case told Buffalo News.
Gendron, the then-17-year-old was taken into custody under a state mental health law and taken to a hospital for an evaluation.
Authorities said on Sunday that Gendron, who killed 10 people at a TOPS supermarket on Saturday had researched the local demographics while looking for places with a high concentration of Black residents. He arrived there at least a day before the attack to conduct reconnaissance.
“This individual came here with the express purpose of taking as many Black lives as he could,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at a news conference Sunday.
Gendron shot 13 people, 10 fatally. Out of the 13 victims, 11 are Black while two are White, according to Buffalo police commissioner Joseph Gramaglia.