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Buffalo shooting: who is suspect Payton Gendron, and what did his 'manifesto' say

Gendron's classmates described him as ‘quiet’, and said he engaged in odd behaviours like wearing a hazmat suit to class

Gendron's classmates described him as ‘quiet’, and said he engaged in odd behaviours like wearing a hazmat suit to class

Payton Gendron, 18, has been identified as the shooter and is currently being held in custody.

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He has been charged with first-degree murder after appearing before a judge in a paper medical gown following his arrest.

Gendron is being held without bond under suicide watch, while awaiting a felony hearing before a grand jury on Thursday 19 May.

But who is he, and what was his motivation behind the attack?

Here is everything you need to know about him.

Who is Payton Gendron?

Gendron is not originally from Buffalo, and had driven from his hometown of Conklin, roughly 200 miles away, for three and a half hours to get to the grocery store.

Gendron was on the police’s radar last year after threatening to shoot up his high school, according to a spokeswoman.

Following an allegation that a 17-year-old student had made threatening statements, New York State Police were summoned to Susquehanna High School in Conklin on 8 June 2021.

Gendron went on to graduate from the school, and attended SUNY Broome Community College in Binghamton, where his classmates described him as a quiet person who rarely attended offline classes and engaged in a variety of odd behaviours, including wearing a hazmat suit to class.

FBI agents look at bullet impacts , the day after a gunman shot dead 10 people (Photo: USMAN KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)FBI agents look at bullet impacts , the day after a gunman shot dead 10 people (Photo: USMAN KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)
FBI agents look at bullet impacts , the day after a gunman shot dead 10 people (Photo: USMAN KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Gendron had arrived in Buffalo the day before the shooting and conducted reconnaissance at the Tops store, according to police, and a local shop owner across the street from the establishment said he recognised Gendron from a prior visit to the neighbourhood.

According to the Daily Intelligencer, Gendron had an account on the chat platform Discord, where he "posted to-do list items in preparation for the attack."

His firearm also had a magazine that could fire 30 shots before needing to be reloaded, which is unlawful in New York, where the maximum is 10 rounds.

The shooter was dressed in military gear and recorded the killings with a helmet camera; he aired the massacre on Twitch for at least two minutes before the site cut him off.

What was his motive?

According to CBS, the gunman yelled racist slurs during the incident and had a racial slur scrawled on his weapon.

It was at first unclear why Gendron travelled 200 miles to Buffalo to carry out the attack, but it was later found that he had looked into the local demography while looking for regions with a high black population.

Ahead of the shooting, a 180-page manifesto was uploaded online, detailing the plans and naming Gendron as the gunman. It is still being investigated.

Buffalo police declined to comment on the document, which purports to detail the attacker’s racist, anti-immigrant, and antisemitic beliefs, including a desire to exclude all people not of European descent from the country.

In the manifesto, the author reportedly identifies themselves as a white supremacist, and supports the "Great Replacement" conspiracy theory, which claims white European populations are being replaced demographically and culturally by non-Europeans.

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According to the author, he began planning the attack in January 2022, and he chose Buffalo as the closest city to his home with the most black residents.

The manifesto also includes biographical information, including a birth date that fits that of the Gendron, as well as specifics of a plan to carry out other attacks in predominantly black Buffalo neighbourhoods following the grocery store attack.

London mayor Sadiq Khan was named by the Buffalo shooting suspect in the manifesto, as part of a list of enemies he wanted dead.

Khan was reportedly described as a “Muslim invader” under a page entitled “Kill high profile enemies”; the mayor was also named in an online manifesto by Australian terrorist Brenton Tarrant who shot dead 51 people in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand in March 2019.

According to reports, Gendron was inspired by Tarrant, and had investigated previous hate-motivated attacks and shootings; it is thought around 28 percent of his manifesto is copied from other sources, including Tarrant’s.

The suspect allegedly made "disturbing statements" about his motive and state of mind after his arrest.

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