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Friday, April 19, 2024

FBI Tight-Lipped on Retired Agent’s Prior Knowledge of Buffalo Mass Shooting

'Gendron’s possible links to a retired federal agent are more bizarre when coupled with a July 2019 story about FBI agents tracking potential mass shooters in the area...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USAThe FBI won’t comment on its reported investigation into whether a retired federal agent had been communicating with mass shooter Payton Gendron shortly before he went on his killing spree in a Buffalo supermarket last May.

Gendron’s possible connection to a retired federal agent was first reported by The Buffalo News weeks after the avowed white supremacist killed 10 people at a supermarket on May 14.

According to The Buffalo News, the retired federal agent may have been one of at least six individuals who regularly communicated with Gendron in an online chat room where racist hatred was discussed.

The story added to previous reports that Gendron invited a small group of people into a private chat room on the messaging platform Discord, and that 15 people accepted his invitation and were able to review his plan and watch his live stream video as he committed the killings.

These six individuals may have had about 30 minutes advance notice of the shooting spree, reports suggest.

“Agents from the FBI are in the process of tracking down and interviewing the six people, including the retired agent, and attempting to determine if any of them should be charged as accomplices,” the The Buffalo News reported last May, citing two sources with close knowledge of the probe.

“Federal authorities are investigating if the retired agent provided information to Gendron before he went on his shooting spree,” the newspaper added. “In addition … federal authorities are looking into the former agent’s relationship to the shooter.”

Headline USA asked the FBI’s press office for an update on the status of the investigation on Monday. The FBI answered Thursday, apologizing for its delayed response but then declining to comment.

Gendron’s possible links to a retired federal agent are more bizarre when coupled with a July 2019 story from The Buffalo News about FBI agents tracking potential mass shooters in the area.

“Discreetly, FBI agents in Buffalo are evaluating and watching individuals they believe are on the path to a mass shooting,” the newspaper reported at the time. “Agents say the people they’re keeping tabs on—about six in this region right now—have shown credible signs of being a threat.”

Founded as a response to the Sandy Hook massacre in 2021, the FBI bragged in 2019 that its program was preventing mass shootings. Then-FBI Special Agent Brent Isaacson reportedly said at the time that the bureau watched “dozens of people” and that “not one has gone off the deep end.”

“We’re really good at assessing the threat and mitigating it,” said Isaacson, who has since retired from the FBI to become chief of university police at SUNY Fredonia.

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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