Alleged buffalo shooter Payton Gendron kept plans from his parents, he wrote
The writings have been uploaded to Internet file-sharing sites in two batches over the past few weeks after apparently being spotted posted on the Discord messaging platform from November 2021 to early May. she reveal a teenager determined not only to keep his parents in the dark about the preparations for mass murder, but also the mundane details of his life. You are helping to fill in a portrait of a young man who has described himself as isolated from family and someone with few friends found refuge in hate.
Gendron wrote that his parents were unaware of the powerful guns he acquired and hid in his bedroom, and were unaware that he bought and sold silver coins to fund his ammunition purchases. He wrote that he repeatedly lied to her about attending a local community college, which he secretly dropped out earlier this year. He worried about the possibility that they would discover his ruse.
“My parents know little about me,” he wrote on February 22. “You don’t know about the hundreds of ounces of silver I had or the hundreds of dollars I spent on ammunition. They don’t know that I spent close to $1000 on random military stuff. They don’t even know I own a shotgun or an AR-15 or illegal magazines.”
Gendron of Conklin, NY has pleaded not guilty to first degree murder. His attorney did not respond to a request for comment.
Gendron’s parents, both civil engineers for upstate New York, did not respond to messages seeking comment. Attempts to reach her through friends and relatives have also been unsuccessful.
Gendron’s father, Paul, has long been an active member of one of New York’s largest unions for government employees, the Public Employees Federation. He sits on the union’s board of directors and chairs a statewide committee dealing with labor administration issues at the state transportation agency, union president Wayne Spence said in a statement.
Appearing before the New York State Assembly in 2017 to testify about the transportation budget, Paul Gendron said he worked for the agency for 23 years. According to official documents, Gendron’s mother, Pamela Gendron, also works as a transport engineer for the state transport authority.
Payton Gendron espoused the “Great Replacement Theory,” an idea popular with the extreme right that says there is a conspiracy to replace American-born Americans with immigrants. There is no evidence in the limited online presence of his parents that they shared these views.
Their Twitter accounts show that they follow mainstream media sources. A registered Democrat, 51-year-old Paul Gendron, has retweeted messages from President Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Pamela Gendron, 53, a registered Republican, follows celebrities and entertainers rather than obvious political figures.
The Gendrons have owned their home in Conklin — a small, majority-white suburb of Binghamton on New York’s southern border — since 2002. Pool in the backyard.
It’s not clear if Pamela and Paul Gendron saw signs their son was slipping into extremism or how many people were able to see his Discord posts. The company removed the messages and refused to say how widely they were viewed. But the news tells of a disturbing episode at her home in late March.
When the younger Gendron went into the garage one night, he found a feral cat attacking his own cat, he wrote. Gendron repeatedly stabbed the wildcat with a knife, then banged its head on a concrete slab and finally chopped off its head with a hatchet, he wrote. He posted a photo of the grey-haired cat, decapitated and bloodied on the ground, surrounded by wet leaves.
“I called my mom and she gave me a box and I dug a shallow grave in the backyard,” he wrote on March 25. “Honestly, I don’t feel anything about killing that cat right now. I thought I was in pain but I literally just feel empty.”
In the messages, Gendron also recounts tensions with black students at school in his early childhood. In sixth grade, he wrote, he was suspended for a day after a black student accused him of calling her the N-word. The school system declined to release its disciplinary records to the Washington Post, citing privacy requirements.
Gendron didn’t consider himself a true racist, he wrote in the news, until he recently started reading an anonymous internet message board, 4chan, where users celebrate racial violence.
Gendron has owned a Savage Axis XP bolt-action rifle for years, a Christmas present from his father when he was 16, the releases say. Under New York state law, it is legal to own a long gun from the age of 16.
Beginning in December 2021, Gendron wrote, he began buying more weapons, including the shotgun, a Mossberg 500, and the Bushmaster XM-15 semi-automatic rifle he allegedly used in the Buffalo attack. In the state of New York, customers 18 years and older can purchase rifles and shotguns without a license.
According to the news, Gendron’s parents thought he would be attending SUNY Broome Community College this spring. Instead, he spent his days preparing for the attack, working on a 180-page screed outlining his racist views. At one point, Gendron feared that a speeding ticket from one of his trips to patrol the Buffalo grocery store would alert his parents to the ruse.
“I’m compromised guys!” he wrote on March 26. “I got mail … saying I was speeding at Groveland and now my dad knows I was gone for hours doing something I shouldn’t have done.”
Gendron wrote that his parents confronted him later that week.
“I just had a meeting with my parents about everything that happened this week,” he wrote on March 29. “I lied almost all the time. I’ve said that if I haven’t been in a class for weeks now, I’m fine at school and I’ll go to every class.”
A spokeswoman for the community college said in a statement that Gendron’s enrollment officially ended on March 22. The school declined to comment on Gendron’s visit beforehand. But students typically have to miss weeks of classes without explanation before the school removes them from the student roll, said Kevin Drumm, the college’s president.
As his plans neared completion, Gendron described feeling detached from his roots.
“I feel completely disconnected from my past,” he wrote on April 1. “It’s like I’ve been reborn and fed memories that I should think are connected to me, but actually aren’t.”
In late April, Gendron took the final steps to prepare for the attack – but only at strategic times.
“I do laundry…and put stuff in my car,” he wrote on April 29. “I have to wait to move the guns because my mom is downstairs and I can’t let her see.”
“I should have kept all my illegal stuff and guns in my car just in case my parents or brothers wanted to snoop around my room, luckily they didn’t,” he added.
A little over a week before the attack, Gendron reflected on his deceptions and was grateful that his parents had repeatedly agreed with him when in doubt.
“I’ve been lying to her for months now,” he wrote of his parents on May 5. “I was lucky enough to manipulate her feelings to blame myself for my strange behavior. If only they knew.”
Alice Crites, Emma Brown, Beth Reinhard, Jon Swaine, and Dalton Bennett contributed to this report.