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Police: Buffalo mass shooter was in the area the day before shooting

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Posted at 9:00 AM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 14:20:50-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The suspect in Saturday's mass shooting planned to keep killing if he escaped the scene, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said on Monday.

Payton Gendron, 18, drove from Conklin, New York to Buffalo to carry out the shooting, police believe. The town, located outside of Binghamton, is roughly 200 miles southeast of Buffalo.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a law enforcement official told the Associated Press that Gendron's parents were being interviewed by federal agents. Multiple search warrants were served on the Gendrons, who are cooperating with investigators.

ABC News reported the weapon Gendron allegedly used was a legally-purchased assault-style rifle, similar to an AR-15. It was reportedly purchased at a gun store in Broome County. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul told the network that Gendron illegally modified the gun. He reportedly obtained other weapons at gun stores in New York and Pennsylvania and one was a gift from his father.

Gramaglia said the suspect arrived at the Tops supermarket Saturday afternoon in tactical gear, including a helmet and armor. He shot several people in the parking lot before entering the store.

Once inside the store, the suspect was shot by a security officer. However, the bullet did not penetrate Gendron's armor. The security guard, later identified by police as retired Buffalo police officer Aaron Salter, was shot and killed by the suspect.

Gramaglia described Salter as a "true hero," and said there could have been more victims had Salter not confronted the shooter.

The shooter was eventually met by Buffalo police officers, who Gramaglia said were able to deescalate the situation and convince the shooter to disarm himself and surrender.

Gendron now faces a first-degree murder charge. His public defender entered a not guilty plea on Gendron's behalf in court Saturday evening.

This story was originally reported by Julia Skeval on wkbw.com.