An investigation by authorities has been launched after it was discovered that a retired federal agent had regular contact with Buffalo supermarket shooter, Payton Gendron, online.
The agent, according to officials, may have had a 30-minute advanced notice that the shooting was about to take place.
Two officials told Buffalo News that they believe there is evidence that the agent, who is from Texas, had regular communication with the shooter in an online chatroom.
Members of the chatroom discussed racial hatred.
“These were like-minded people who used this chat group to talk about their shared interests in racial hatred, replacement theory and hatred of anyone who is Jewish, a person of color or not of European ancestry,” a law enforcement official said to the outlet.
The individuals in the chatroom had been invited to read the shooter’s documents that laid out a plan for him to shoot people, which he would do thirty minutes later at the Tops Markets in Buffalo two weeks ago.”What is especially upsetting is that these six people
received advanced notice of the Buffalo shooting, about 30 minutes before it happened,” the official said to the outlet.
“The FBI has verified that none of these people called law enforcement to warn them about the shooting. The FBI database shows no advance tips from anyone that this shooting was about to happen,” he said.
It is not confirmed whether the agent accepted the invitation to read the plans.
The FBI is currently in the process of finding the people who were in the chatroom.
Buffalo News reports that the identity of the agent could not be confirmed, nor what agency he worked for.
The Washington Post reports that an invitation was sent out by Gendron, that 15 people reportedly accepted in a Discord server. That link also had a live stream of the shooting.
The invitation, titled “Happening: This is not a drill” included a link to the Twitch stream that broadcasted Gendron’s attack from a camera mounted to his helmet.