Payton Gendron, seen here in a Buffalo, New York, court, faces charges related to the Buffalo supermarket shooting on May 14, 2022. (Photo: via Associated Press)
Investigators are looking into a former federal agent’s connection to the accused Buffalo shooter after the agent allegedly received an invite to read the attack plans.
Sources told The Buffalo News that the suspect, Payton Gendron, invited the Texas-based former federal agent to see his plans for the attack that killed 10 people in upstate New York on May 14.
It’s unclear whether the former federal agent saw the invitation, the newspaper reported.
The shooting took place at a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood and the suspect, who is white, cited a racist “replacement theory” in a 180-page online manifesto.
One of the newspaper’s sources described the circle of contacts as “like-minded people” who shared a thread of beliefs including the “replacement theory.”
The source also claimed the contacts didn’t report the attack plans to the FBI.
An attorney who represents a number of the Buffalo victims’ families told the newspaper the agent’s possible contact was “not surprising” based on undisclosed findings his firm has made since May 14.
As investigators reportedly look at the Buffalo suspect’s internet activity, the online presence of an 18-year-old who killed 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday has been under scrutiny.
The Uvalde school district put social media monitoring software — Social Sentinel — in place during the 2019-20 school year, according to the Dallas Morning News, yet Texas schools found the software to be “mostly ineffective.”
The Buffalo shooting led New York State Attorney General Letitia James to begin investigations into social media companies used to plan the attack.
James said the attack revealed the ways social media networks are used to harbor hate.
“Time and time again, we have seen the real-world devastation that is borne of these dangerous and hateful platforms, and we are doing everything in our power to shine a spotlight on this alarming behavior and take action to ensure it never happens again,” James said.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.