New York Post
Class nut to ‘killer’
Buffalo’s accused teen mass shooter once wore a full hazmat suit to school during the pandemic — and was later hospitalized for a day and a half after threatening classmates, it was revealed Sunday.
The new details emerged as neighbors of suspect Payton Gendron and his parents revealed to The Post how the 18year-old hid his simmering racial hatred before fatally gunning down 10 people at a supermarket Saturday afternoon.
State Police brought Gendron to a local hospital “for a mental evaluation” in June 2021 after he made a “generalized threat” of violence against his school, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Sunday.
Gramaglia did not provide details about the threat, but a government official told the Buffalo News that Gendron “made statements indicating that he wanted to do a shooting, either at a graduation ceremony, or sometime after.’’
He “went to a local hospital, he was there for . . . about a day and a half, evaluated and then released,” Gramaglia said.
The teen was not on the radar of federal law enforcement — even after allegedly writing a 181-page, race-hatefilled manifesto online at some point detailing his murderous plans for Buffalo.
“There was nothing picked up on the State Police intelligence. Nothing that was picked up on the FBI intelligence. Nobody called in any complaint,” Gramaglia said. “The State Police did their job to the fullest that they could at that time.”
High-school classmates told The New York Times Gendron bizarrely wore a hazmat suit — “boots, gloves, everything” — for a week last year during the lead-up to graduation.
“Everyone was just staring
at him,” Nathan Twitchell, 19, told the outlet.
Gendron was a former student at Broome County Community College, where he aspired to be an engineer like his parents, Paul and Pamela Gendron, who both work at the state Department of Transportation. The parents were interviewed by the FBI and are cooperating with the investigation, sources said.
Payton allegedly targeted the Tops Friendly Market because it was in an area with a high concentration of black residents — and even launched a “reconnaissance’’ mission the day before to scope it out, cops said.
He is currently under suicide watch while in custody, authorities said.
Payton had been living under the radar with his family in the quiet, well-to-do Binghamton suburb of Conklin, where he delivered papers as a youth before taking his most recent job at a local deli, neighbors told The Post Sunday.
“It’s just something out of a Lifetime movie,” a resident said. “They keep saying this, this racist supremacist deal that, you know, he was involved in. Nobody around here had any inclination of that.”
Joseph Sharak, 21, who has known the suspect since childhood, said, “He was a shy kid.”