Buffalo shooter mentioned Syracuse online while discussing potential targets, Buffalo News reports – syracuse.com

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Destiny USA (Rick Moriarty | [email protected])
Syracuse, N.Y. — The gunman accused of killing 10 people at a Buffalo grocery store mentioned Syracuse while discussing potential targets online, according to messages obtained by The Buffalo News.
Payton Gendron, of Conklin, Broome County, wrote that he spent over a year researching the demographics of major Upstate New York cities to find the highest black population, according to the shooter’s online manifesto. He began seriously planning the attack in January 2022, the manifesto states.
Before publishing the manifesto, the gunman posted hundreds of messages to Discord, an online message board. The content of these messages was verified and first reported by Caitlin Dewey of The Buffalo News on Wednesday.
On Dec. 8, 2021, Gendron wrote that Binghamton, the closest major city to his hometown, was not the ideal place for his attack because it has only a 7.4% Black population, according to the messages.
“I’ll have to see if I can find a higher black population density, if not southern Syracuse is the place,” he writes in the same message. “Gotta check out Syracuse mall.”
Destiny USA is the only mall in the city of Syracuse. The mall’s Zip Code is 29% Black, according to the U.S. Census.
Eventually, the gunman settled on the Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo. In his manifesto, he states that it had the highest black population percentage and “isn’t that far away.” The Zip Code where the shooting occurred is 78% Black.
He wrote in his manifesto that he decided to stay in New York state because he knew that the state had strict gun laws and it would make him more at “ease” if he could be certain that any legal gun owners were limited to 10-round magazines.
It is unclear if Gendron ever visited Syracuse or seriously considered it as a target. This message was only one of hundreds regarding the planning of the attack.
The shooter also mentioned Rochester as a possible target and the Oakdale Mall in Johnson City, about 14 miles from the shooter’s hometown, according to the Buffalo News.
No local law enforcement or city officials have publicly said that Destiny USA was targeted.
Syracuse police did not respond to inquiries from Syracuse.com | The Post-Standard.
Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick and Greg Loh, a spokesman for the mayor, said they are not commenting because they don’t know enough about the report.
Staff writer Anne Hayes covers breaking news, crime and public safety. Have a tip, a story idea, a question or a comment? You can reach her at [email protected].
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