The Punxsutawney Spirit

Online diary: Buffalo gunman plotted attack for months

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The white gunman accused of massacring 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarke­t wrote as far back as November about staging a livestream­ed attack on African Americans, practiced shooting from his car and traveled hours from his home in March to scout out the store, according to detailed diary entries he appears to have posted online.

The author of the diary posted hand-drawn maps of the grocery store along with tallies of the number of Black people he counted there, and recounted how a Black security guard at the supermarke­t confronted him that day to ask what he was up to. A Black security guard was among the dead in Saturday’s shooting rampage.

The diary taken from the chat platform Discord came to light two days after 18-year-old Payton Gendron allegedly opened fire with an AR-15-style rifle at the Tops Friendly Market. He was wearing body armor and used a helmet camera to livestream the bloodbath on the internet, authoritie­s said.

He surrendere­d inside the supermarke­t and was arraigned on a murder charge over the weekend. He pleaded not guilty and was jailed under a suicide watch. Federal authoritie­s are contemplat­ing bringing hate crime charges.

A transcript of the diary entries was apparently posted publicly sometime ahead of the attack. It was not clear how many people might have seen the entries. Experts said it was possible but unlikely the diary could have been altered by someone other than the author.

The FBI’s top agent in Buffalo, Stephen Belongia, indicated on a call with other officials Monday that investigat­ors are looking at Gendron’s Discord activity, citing posts last summer about body armor and guns and others last month in which he taunted federal authoritie­s. Belongia gave no details in the call, a recording of which the AP obtained.

But in an April 17 post apparently by Gendron, he exhorted readers to kill agents from the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The violence spread grief and anger in Buffalo and beyond.

Former Buffalo Fire Commission­er Garnell Whitfield Jr., who lost his 86-year-old mother, Ruth Whitfield, in the shooting, asked how the country could allow its history of racist killings to repeat itself.

“We’re not just hurting. We’re angry,” Whitfield said at a news conference with civil rights attorney Ben Crump and others. “We treat people with decency, and we love even our enemies.”

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