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Report: Retired Federal Agent May Have Known of Buffalo Mass Shooting in Advance

Report: Retired Federal Agent May Have Known of Buffalo Mass Shooting in Advance

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Photo: Pallbearers wheel the casket of Aaron Salter Jr. during a funeral service at The Chapel at Crosspoint on May 25, 2022, in Getzville, N.Y. Salter Jr. was killed in the Buffalo supermarket shooting on May 14. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

Authorities are investigating if a retired federal agent knew of the Buffalo mass shooting plans in advance.

Law enforcement officers are looking into whether the former agent had about 30 minutes advance notice of a white supremacist’s plans to murder Black people at a Buffalo supermarket, according to law enforcement officials close to the investigation. 

The former agent, believed to be from Texas, was one of several people who communicated regularly with accused gunman Payton Gendron, 18, in a racist online chat room, officials said.

Gendron invited a small group of people into a private chat room on the messaging platform Discord to review his plan about 30 minutes before the massacre at Tops supermarket, the New York Times reported. The Washington Post later reported later that 15 people accepted Gendron’s invitation into the chat room and were able to review his plan and watch his live stream video as he committed the killings.

Gendron told members in the chat room his plans less than an hour before he went to Tops and killed 10 Black people on May 14, according to The Buffalo News


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“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.”

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“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,” the official continued.

The FBI is in tracking down and interviewing the people who were in the chat room with the shooter, including the retired agent. The FBI will determine if any of them should be charged as accomplices, the two sources with close knowledge of the probe told The Buffalo News.

Photo: Pallbearers wheel the casket of Aaron Salter Jr. during a funeral service at The Chapel at Crosspoint on May 25, 2022, in Getzville, N.Y. Salter Jr. was killed in the Buffalo supermarket shooting on May 14. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)