The suspected gunman in Saturday’s racially motivated mass shooting in Buffalo previously garnered police attention with a threat he made last year, officials said.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said a June 2021 incident involving the suspect, Payton Gendron, was not racially charged.
“From what I have, it was a generalized threat, not a specific threat directed at a specific place or person,” Gramaglia said at a press conference in Buffalo.
Gramaglia said “the individual was brought in for a mental health evaluation. He was evaluated and then released.”
1 killed, 4 hurt in California shooting
One person was killed and four others were critically wounded in a shooting Sunday afternoon at a Presbyterian church in a suburban Southern California community where the majority of residents are seniors, officials said. A suspect was in custody.
The shooting was reported shortly before 1:30 p.m. at Geneva Presbyterian Church in the city of Laguna Woods, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said on Twitter.
A man died at the scene and a fifth injured person suffered minor injuries, officials said. All the victims were adults.
Deputies detained a suspect, an adult male, and recovered a weapon at the scene, officials said. It wasn’t immediately clear where inside the church the shooting happened.
About 30 people witnessed the violence, said Carrie Braun, a sheriff’s spokesperson. The majority of those inside the church are believed to be of Taiwanese descent, Braun said.
Investigators were looking at many factors, including whether the bloodshed could be a hate crime and whether the gunman was known to the church community, she said.
The FBI said Sunday that Gendron wasn’t on the agency’s radar before Saturday’s shooting.
Authorities are investigating a 180-page manifesto allegedly written by Gendron that says the Zip code where the supermarket is located has “the highest Black percentage that is close enough to where I live.”
Gendron is from Conklin, located about 200 miles southeast of Buffalo. Gendron has been charged with murder and is in custody without bail.
“This individual came here with the express purpose of taking as many Black lives as he could,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at Sunday’s press conference.