BUFFALO, N.Y. (Reuters) -A white teenager who killed 10 people in a racist attack at a western New York grocery store in a Black neighborhood had been taken into custody last year and given a mental health evaluation after making a threat at his high school, authorities said.
New details, including the previous threat, emerged on Sunday that provided a fuller portrait of the suspect, Payton Gendron, 18, and his assault on a Buffalo supermarket that authorities described as an act of “racially motivated violent extremism.”
“The evidence that we have uncovered so far makes no mistake this is an absolute racist hate crime that will be prosecuted as a hate crime,” Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told reporters on Sunday.
Gendron surrendered to police after Saturday’s shooting of 13 people, 11 of whom were Black. He has been charged with first-degree murder – which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole in New York – and has pleaded not guilty.
Authorities said on Sunday that Gendron had driven to Buffalo from his home several hours away a day before the attack to do “reconnaissance” on the area. On Saturday afternoon he drove to the Tops Friendly Market, where he commenced an assault that he broadcast in real time on the social media platform Twitch, a live video service owned by Amazon.com.