The shooting suspect who killed 10 people and injured another three in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday would have continued his pursuit if he had not been stopped by police, officials said.
After his initial attack in Tops Friendly Market, Payton Gendron may have had additional plans to drive to other stores and shoot more people, according to evidence discovered by the Buffalo Police Department. It’s not clear what evidence points to this conclusion, but BPD Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told ABC News that there were multiple high-capacity gun magazines found in Gendron’s car and that investigators are looking through his phone and other electronics.
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The attack was premeditated, Gramaglia said, noting that the shooter had gone to Buffalo a day earlier to “scope out” the scene. Investigators are also seeking to validate a 180-page manifesto allegedly written by Gendron that cites racist and anti-immigrant theories as a possible motivation for the attack.
The FBI is investigating the incident as a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism. Gendron has pleaded not guilty to one charge of first-degree murder.
Police identified Gendron as the suspect shortly after the attack, describing him as an 18-year-old white male who drove from "hours away" to wreak havoc in a predominantly black neighborhood. Gendron reportedly entered Tops at about 2:30 p.m. on Saturday to begin his rampage in which he shot 13 people, 11 of whom were black.
Officials said the gunman livestreamed the shooting on Twitch, a site owned by Amazon and popular among video gamers, and the platform said it took the channel offline within two minutes, according to the New York Times. However, some versions of the video and accompanying screenshots are still circulating online.
Gramaglia confirmed Gendron was wearing tactical gear and a helmet during the alleged massacre, shielding him from return fire. One retired police officer working as a security guard managed to fire back at the suspect. However, Gendron was protected by his gear and reportedly shot the man dead.
Officials said the gunman held his own rifle to his neck when confronted by authorities before turning himself in.
Gendron was investigated by police after making a threat in June 2021 to carry out a shooting at his high school.
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“He was evaluated and then he was released,” Gramaglia told reporters. “There was nothing that was picked up on the state police intelligence, nothing that was picked up on the FBI intelligence."
A hearing is scheduled for Gendron on May 19, and he is being held without bail. If found guilty, Gendron faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole.