buffalo shooter let some people see the plans just before the attack

Shortly before shooting, white gunman charged with killing 10 black people In a Buffalo, New York, supermarket, a small group of people allowed a look at his detailed plans for the attack, which he had been chronicling for months in a private, online diary.

Discord, the chat platform where 18-year-old Peyton Gendron kept the diary, confirmed on Wednesday that an invitation to access his private writings had been sent to the group about half an hour before Saturday’s attack at Topps Friendly Market., which he live-streamed on another online service. Some of them accepted.

Gendron’s Diary and its racist, anti-Semitic entries from last November included a step-by-step description of his attack plans, a detailed description of his reconnaissance trip to Buffalo in March, and maps of the store, which he hand-drawn. Was. ,

“What we do know at this time is that a private, invitation-only server was created by the suspect to serve as a personal diary chat log,” a Discord spokesperson said in a written statement. “About 30 minutes before the attack, however, a small group of people were invited to the server and joined. Prior to this, our records show that no one else in this private server viewed the diary chat logs. .

It was unclear whether those who accessed Gendron’s diary or watched his livestream did anything to alert authorities or attempt to stop the attack. Discord said that in accordance with the company’s policies against violent extremism, it deleted Gendron’s diary as soon as it became aware of it.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Monday that investigators were working to obtain, verify and review Gendron’s online postings.

Copies of his Discord diary—essentially a transcript of his postings in his private chat log—surfaced online elsewhere after the shooting, along with a 180-page screwup attributed to him. Both were plagued by white supremacist beliefs, echoing a baseless extremist conspiracy theory about a conspiracy to undermine the influence of white people.

President Joe Biden, visiting Buffalo on Tuesday, refuted such beliefs, saying: “Now is the time for people of all races, from every background, to speak as a majority … and white supremacy.” reject.”

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Gendron was arrested over the weekend for murder, A not-guilty plea was filed on his behalf and he is jailed under a suicide watch. He is to appear in Buffalo court again on Thursday.

Tech companies such as Discord and Twitch, which officials say used to broadcast the Gendron supermarket attack, are under scrutiny for their role as vectors of hate speech.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday authorized the state’s attorney general, Letitia James, to investigate the social media platforms used by Gendron to determine whether they had “promoting, facilitating” plans. have civil or criminal liability for their role in committing or providing a platform and promoting violence.”

Discord said it plans to cooperate with James’ investigation and is continuing to assist law enforcement with the ongoing investigation into the shooting.

“Our deepest condolences are with the victims and their families,” the company said. “Hate has no place on discord and we are committed to combating violence and extremism.”

Messages seeking comment were left with Twitch and two other tech platforms James is investigating, 8kun and 4chan, which Gendron wrote in his diary, where he began reading up on racist ideologies that made him non-Christian, Set on the way to kill non-Christians. people.

Twitch CEO Emmett Shearer told Harvard Business Review in an interview earlier on Wednesday that the Amazon-owned platform will continue to “invest heavily in ensuring the safety of everyone on Twitch.”

“I think this is an example of one of those places where we’ve done a lot of work, but clearly there’s still work to be done,” Shearer said.

Gendron wrote in his Discord diary that he started reading 4chan in 2020 a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic and was deeply influenced by Brenton Tarrant, who killed 51 people in a shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. was given. 2019. 2019. Gendron wrote that he originally planned his attack for March 15, the three-year anniversary of Tarrant’s attack.

Copies of Gendron’s diary postings were shared with the Associated Press by Marc-André Argentino, a research fellow at the London-based International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence. He said it was possible, but not likely, to alter the diary by someone other than the author.

Gendron said in the diary that he specifically targeted a store with predominantly black customers, researching spots in Rochester, Syracuse and Long Island before settling in Buffalo. Prosecutors say he appeared on the Internet on Saturday wearing body armor and armed with an AR-15-style rifle as a helmet-mounted camera.

Problems with his gun and then a battle with COVID-19 – which he contracted from a fast-food chicken sandwich poisoned by government agents – prevented him from attacking at first, she wrote in the diary.

Gendron wrote that he began thinking about “a personal attack against the substitutes” a few weeks before an episode in a high school class about a year ago that led him to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. was gone.

A few weeks before the attack, Gendron wrote that neither his parents nor his brothers knew of his plans, but feared they would find out.

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Sisak reported from New York. Associated Press reporters Hallelujah Hadero in New York, Michael Balsamo and Eric Tucker in Washington DC and Carolyn Thompson in Buffalo, New York contributed to this report.

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Follow Michael Sisak on Twitter twitter.com/mikesisak

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