Two months before Payton Gendron allegedly killed 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo, in the US, he was confronted by a security guard at the store during a trip on which he compiled detailed plans of the location, according to a document posted online in April by a writer who identified himself as Gendron.
"I’ve seen you go in and out … What are you doing?" the guard asked Gendron on March 8, according to an account in the document. Gendron replied that he was "collecting consensus data" before making excuses and leaving for his car, according to the account, adding: "In hindsight, that was a close call."
The encounter with the guard at the supermarket was described within a 589-page document posted online on April 29. The document refers to the supermarket as "attack area 1" and describes two more Buffalo locations as other attack areas to "shoot all blacks" during an apparent reconnaissance trip that spelled out the travel paths to each one, timing needed for each shoot-out and the estimate that more than three dozen people would be fatally shot in all.
The document contains numerous photos of Gendron and uses a handle Gendron used on other social media platforms. The messages contain many images of his activities and reference several events in his personal life, such as a speeding ticket, that The Washington Post has confirmed.
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Gendron, an 18-year-old from Conklin, New York, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in relation to the attack at the Tops supermarket on Saturday (Sunday NZT), in which three other people were also injured before Gendron was arrested at the grocery store.
The written account said that its author was stopped and ticketed for driving almost 40kph above the speed limit on a section of State Highway 36 en route to Buffalo on March 8. The Post obtained a copy of a speeding ticket issued to Gendron by a New York state trooper that day that matches those details.
Several images, including detailed sketches of the Tops store layout, were included alongside the written account of the March 8 visit. It noted that there were "many blacks" at the cashier’s area of the store. In all, 53 black people and six white people were inside the store during the March trip, the account said. Police have said they are investigating the shootings as a racially motivated hate crime .
The security guard involved in the confrontation during the March visit was one of two black guards present and armed that day, according to the account, which noted the guards’ locations and movements. Authorities said a security guard fired at the shooter during the May 14 attack at the store, but that the suspect was protected by body armour and allegedly returned fire, killing the guard.
The 589-page document was presented as a compilation of messages posted between November 2021 and April 2022 on the messaging platform Discord by jimboboiii, a username also used by Gendron on other platforms. Original messages posted by the account are not publicly available and representatives of Discord did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The document was uploaded to the file-sharing platform MediaFire by an anonymised account in the United States on the evening of April 29. The document was available to download until Monday morning, but was removed after The Post contacted MediaFire for comment.
Derek Labian, MediaFire’s chief executive, said in an interview that the account associated with the document had been disabled and records from it had been preserved for law enforcement.
In a previous statement regarding other Discord messages apparently posted by Gendron, the company said: "We extend our deepest sympathies to the victims and their families, and we will do everything we can to assist law enforcement in the investigation."
Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said in media interviews on Monday that authorities believed the gunman intended to continue his attack at additional locations, telling CNN this was based on "some documentation".
The Washington Post's Mark Berman contributed to this report.
The Washington Post
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