Buffalo Shooter Dumped Ammo at Pal’s Home Day Before Attack, Friend Says

·6 min read
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Upstate New York white supremacist accused of gunning down 10 Black shoppers at a Buffalo supermarket last Saturday showed up unannounced at his best friend’s mobile home the day before the attack and asked if he could store five boxes of ammunition there, according to reports.

Alleged shooter Payton Gendron, 18, told lifelong pal Matthew Casado that he was rearranging his house, and needed to use his space for storage, ABC News reported.

Casado, 19, told the Daily Mail that Gendron also dropped off “a high-powered rifle and two additional boxes of evidence.”

“I was infuriated because he thought my house was a storage unit because he said he had to rearrange his house,” Casado said.

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Pamela Burdock, Casado’s mother, said she ultimately moved the ammo to her own nearby trailer in an attempt to keep the bullets away from other youngsters who might stop by. Upon discovering that Gendron had been accused of the shocking bloodbath, Casado said he and his parents called authorities and told them everything they knew.

Casado and Burdock did not respond on Monday to multiple requests for comment by The Daily Beast.

Casado, who has known Gendron since the second grade, said the teen was forbidden by his mom and dad to play violent video games at home, according to ABC.

He told the outlet that the two used to play Minecraft, Roblox, and Rocket League together.

“Payton didn’t play video games that had guns,” Casado said. “He wasn’t allowed to. He wasn’t allowed to at his house, and when he came here, he chose not to. He respected his parents' wishes.”

However, the pair did go once a month on real-life shoots together, taking target practice at a gun range in the area. Casado, who is Latinx, said he had no idea that his pal was planning a racist massacre while spending time with him and his girlfriend, Skylar McClain, who is Black.

“He was a good shooter,” another friend, who asked not to be identified, told the Mail.

Casado, 19, told the outlet he had no idea Gendron was racist and “whole-heartedly believed he was a good kid” before the massacre. Still, he said that in high school, Gendron was “was considered weird because he did not talk much and none of his other friends wanted to spend time with him.”

Gendron’s parents are both civil engineers who work for the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) in Binghamton, New York. His father, Paul Gendron, is active in his union, the Public Employees Federation (PEF), PEF President Wayne Spence told The Daily Beast in an email.

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“He serves as a council leader and a steward at his worksite, sits on our Executive Board, and chairs our statewide committee focused on Labor-Management issues at the DOT,” Spence said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all impacted by this tragedy.”

Gendron is now facing first-degree murder charges after allegedly driving 200 miles from his home in Conklin, New York, and opening fire in a Tops Friendly Markets store in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Cops subsequently discovered a 180-page manifesto written by Gendron, in which he espoused racist ideals and appeared fixated on the so-called Great Replacement Theory, which posits that a globalist cabal is actively attempting to replace America’s white population with non-white “invaders.”

Gendron bought the high-powered rifle used in the shooting from Vintage Firearms in Endicott, New York, The New York Times reported. Owner Robert Donald told the paper that he ran a background check on Gendron before making the sale, and there were no red flags on his record. Still, he said he felt “terrible” about being connected in any way to last weekend’s tragedy.

Although police say Gendron legally purchased the alleged murder weapon, he had also acquired at least one illegal firearm, according to a review of his online activity.

In his chat logs from the Discord messaging app—where he planned his massacre for months under the handle “Jimboboiii”—Gendron repeatedly refers to a friend named “Matt.” As he plotted what weapons and body armor to use, and practiced shooting from his vehicle, he allegedly spent time with his buddy and showed off his firearms.

According to this diary, Gendron and Matt spent time together shooting guns on “state lands,” visiting flea markets, and playing Cards Against Humanity at Matt’s house in the months leading up to Gendron’s hateful killing spree.

In December, Jimboboiii posted a video of himself shooting a rifle “for fun” and notes he “was with buddies Eddie and Matt.” He added: “Originally my dad bought it for me as a Christmas present when I was 16 and a half.”

The user also pondered why he was posting updates about himself and concluded that “it feels like a diary to me and feels good to let some things out.” He added: “Never went to see therapists or anything like that. Once told Matt about being suicidal at some points in my life, but that’s it.”

In February, Jimboboiii wrote that he visited Matt to show off his Bushmaster assault rifle, which he allegedly modified to hold more ammunition. As The Daily Beast reported, Gendron’s weapon was the same model used in the shooting of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

“Went to friend Matt’s house today, showed him my illegal XM-15 and he said he liked it, we talked and hung out for about 2 and a half hours,” Gendron wrote. “We’re trying to go to statelands to shoot some more tommorow [sic].” He continued: “I have wondered if I’m mentally ill, and that’s why I’m planning the attack like I am now.”

In early March, Jimboboiii said he spent the day perusing two flea markets with his friend. “I had a fun time with Matt it was a nice break from preparing for the attack,” the user wrote. “Protip: Be prepared for shit to happen.”

On May 5, just nine days before the mass shooting, Jimboboiii wrote about how he’s spent years of his life online and regrets it. “It’s not that I actually dislike other people, it’s just that they make me feel so uncomfortable,” he wrote.

“You’ve heard me talk about Matt,” Jimboboiii added. “Matt has been my friend ever since third grade. We talk some nowadays and I would consider him my only friend. Sadly we don’t talk like we used to anymore.”

At a press conference on Monday, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said, “I understand that there is the narrative out there that there is so much evidence, it’s overwhelming, this guy is guilty, this guy did it... I understand that opinion. I understand emotions are high, I understand the wrongness of this matter. However, I do not operate in the court of public opinion. I operate in a court of law and this defendant is innocent until proven guilty.”

Gendron, whose lawyers withdrew a request to have their client’s mental health evaluated, is due back in court Thursday. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

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