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A white supremacist who gunned down 10 black people at a Buffalo supermarket meticulously planned the massacre in thousands of twisted entries online.
Payton Gendron, 18, spent months agonizing over the details of his plan to carry out a mass shooting, according to the daily entries posted the digital message app Discord, which was provided to the Dailymail.com by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation.
While wearing military gear, he opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon in the parking lot and inside the Tops Friendly Supermarket in a predominantly black neighborhood of Buffalo, New York, on Saturday afternoon. The FBI called the attack ‘racially motivated violent extremism.’
Eleven of the 13 people struck by gunfire were black. Ten of the victims were killed in the rampage, part of which the gunman live-streamed on a social media platform.
Dr. Rajan Basra, a researcher at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) told Dailymail.com that a manifesto he posted online was meant to be his ‘grand’ public statement, but said ‘it’s unoriginal: much of it is plagiarized from earlier attackers’ manifesto, and it features the typical racist memes found on extremist forums.’
‘But it’s his diary that stands out as its gives us a look at the person behind that public image,’ he said.
Entries from the diary included hand-drawn maps of the Tops Friendly Market, where the attack took place, a map of Rochester and a photo of Gendron wearing a hazmat suit while at school.
Gendron reportedly had initially scouted out Rochester for the shooting but decided on Buffalo when he discovered it had a larger population of black residents.
Payton Gendron, 18, spent months agonizing over the details of his plan to carry out a mass shooting, according to diary entries posted online
Hand-drawn maps of the Tops Friendly Supermarket in Buffalo were included in the entries
Eleven of the 13 people struck by gunfire were black. Ten of the victims were killed in the rampage, part of which the gunman live-streamed on a social media platform
Payton Gendron, 18, who is accused of murdering 10 people in a ‘racist hate crime ‘ at a Buffalo supermarket on Saturday reportedly conducted ‘reconnaissance’ at the store before carrying out his attack
The diary entries also highlight his dry runs which Basra said are typically done to help the would-be attacker on a tactical and even psychological level.
But for the Buffalo shooter, it was a stressful experience, Basara said.
‘His diary shows a complex dynamic between his mental health issues, psychological doubts over killing, and a toxic, violent ideology,’ Basara added.
In one entry posted on March 8, Gendron described having a panic attack and crashing his car. He wrote that he was unsure, nervous, and anxious about the future attack he was planning.
The day before the attack, he wrote: ‘I can’t believe I’m actually going through with this, never in my life would I think I would be a killer. I keep going back and forth from ‘This is actually insane’ to ‘This is the only logical thing to do”.
Basra said what made him go through with the shooting is ‘appears to be his repeated exposure to extremist material – reading the manifestos of other attackers, and spending time on extremist forums.’
‘That also shows who his audience was for the attack,’ Basara said. ‘He was obsessed by the attacks carried out by other extremists. He wanted to emulate them, and even kill more people than them. So while the attack had a global audience, he was also trying to impress a niche crowd of like-minded extremists that spend time on the same online forums as him.’
Payton Gendron had attended his school wearing a full hazmat suit
Gendron posted a photo of another hand drawn map of Tops Friendly Supermarket which he had visited ahead of the massacre
Gendon also posted a photograph of bullets
Gendron wears military gear and a GoPro in a photo posted online. The gunman livestreamed the shooting Saturday with a GoPro
One of the entries posted online explains that Gendron was radicalized during the COVID-19 pandemic and that his exposure to extremists sites motivated him.
‘My current beliefs started when I first started to use 4chan a few months after COVID started,’ Gendron wrote in the diary.
‘I remember I went to my cousin’s house with a mask and full get up and no one else did and seeing that caused me so much pain. Eventually it was too much to bear and I had to leave early and walk home through the woods, I then barricaded myself in the basement for a few days.’
‘There I lost myself and a bit of my sanity,’ he continued.
‘Every time I think maybe I shouldn’t commit to an attack I spend 5 min [on] /pol/, then my motivation returns,’ he wrote in another entry, referencing the message board’s politics section, which is known for racist and anti-Semitic content.
Leading up to Saturday’s shooting, many of the posts expressed doubt and Gendron wrote about having panic attacks, including on a drive to perform reconnaissance out the Buffalo supermarket.
‘I’m not proud to kill these lads, in fact I’m desperately looking for a sign or evidence proving that I shouldn’t,’ he wrote of his alleged plans to kill ‘black people.’
Gendron drove to where he believed he was going to park his car during the shooting
Gendron also posted an image of the gun he used in the attack. He wrote vulgar words, including the names of other white supremacists on it
A photo posted to Gendron’s online diary shows supplies he gathered prior to shooting
‘I can’t tell you how much I don’t want to do this attack My only other choice is suicide I can’t go back,’ Gendron wrote on March 16.
‘I have wondered if I’m mentally ill, and that’s why I’m planning the attack like I am now.’
‘The past 7 years have hurt so much, I think I’m ready to abandon it all.’
In another series of entries, he wrote about his relationship with his family.
‘My parents know little about me, they don’t know about the hundreds of silver ounces I’ve had, or the hundreds of dollars I’ve spent on ammo. They don’t know that I spent close to $1000 on random military sh-t. They don’t even know I own a shotgun or an AR-15, or illegal magazines.’
‘Promise me if you have a child you will be there and you will be close, be a friend to your child and make sure they know that you will always help them. Talk about their problems and ways to solve it and NEVER make them feel bad for coming to you.’
Other posts feature memes found on extremists sites and some are from his everyday life, like about the food he ate every day and his daily calorie count. Some posts went into a scam he created to obtain free McChickens from McDonald’s.
Many of the entries include screengrabs of crime stories from media outlets across the spectrum.
Gendron murdered 10 people in a ‘racist hate crime ‘ at a supermarket in Buffalo, NY on Saturday. People are seen outside the store after the shooting
Investigators continued to work the scene of the supermarket on Monday, as Gendron continues to face murder and potential terrorism charges
Harrowing radio calls made by Buffalo police officers and firefighters on the day of the shooting were released on Monday. They revealed the chaos the emergency crews found at the scene.
Police were first alerted to the scene of the supermarket at around 2.31pm, when a dispatcher first directed a couple of officers to respond to a ‘shots fired’ call, according to audio recordings obtained by DailyMail.com.
Just about one minute later, the first cops and firefighters on the scene reported seeing bodies strewn outside the supermarket, and soon one officer on the scene makes a plea to the dispatcher, saying: ‘Radio, send as many cars as you possibly can’ as sirens could be heard going off in the distance.
Soon, a dispatcher informs the officers about a ‘possible active shooter’ at Tops, saying there are ‘still shots being fired.’
Less than 30 seconds later, firefighters on the scene radioed in that there were ‘at least three people on the ground,’ and the suspect ‘might be wearing body armor.’
Moments later, police reported that they had the suspect ‘cornered’ and ‘have him in custody.’ That call came just about six minutes after police were first dispatched to the scene.
By around 2:35pm officials began calling it a ‘mass casualty incident,’ with cops on the scene asking for more cars to control the crowds that had gathered outside as they were ‘working on clearing the store.’
They announced at the time that there were at least three people shot, at least two of whom were shot directly in the head.
More victims were soon found dead inside the building, as one police officer could be heard exclaiming: ‘We have bodies down here.’
Police then called for more Crime Scene Unit officers to collect numerous bodies, bullets and magazines, and asked for further assistance in clearing the surrounding area of family members who had gathered outside worried about their loved ones.
In the final call of the audio recording, about 20 minutes after police were first dispatched to the scene, another police officer reveals that employees at the shop had locked themselves in a room near customer service to keep themselves safe during the rampage.
Gendron, who is due back in court on Thursday, is currently on suicide watch after he ‘put the gun under his chin’ as though to shoot himself following Saturday’s attack. Officers managed to ‘talk him down’ and arrest him. Gendron is being held in a separate unit from other inmates.
‘He’s on direct observation from our deputies [with] video surveillance,’ Erie County Sheriff John Garcia explained. ‘He will be treated as everyone else is treated within the Erie County holding center — humanely, with respect. And he will receive the correctional help and the mental help that is needed.’
Police believe Gendron planned the attack for months before driving three hours to Buffalo to carry out the vile ambush that authorities are calling an act of ‘violent extremism’ motivated by race.