Buffalo shooter shared plans through website Discord

19 May 2022, 05:54

Shannon Waedell-Collins pays her respects at the scene of Saturday’s shooting at a supermarket, in Buffalo,
Buffalo Supermarket Shooting. Picture: PA

Buffalo Police commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said on Monday that investigators were working to obtain, verify and review the online postings.

The white gunman accused of killing 10 Black people at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket allowed a small group of people to see his detailed plans prior to the attack he had been chronicling for months in a private, online diary.

Discord, the chat platform where 18-year-old Payton Gendron kept the diary, confirmed on Wednesday that an invitation to access his private writings was sent to the group about 30 minutes before Saturday’s attack at Tops Friendly Market, which he live-streamed on another online service. Some of them accepted.

Gendron’s diary and its racist, antisemitic entries dated to November included step-by-step descriptions of his assault plans, a detailed account of a reconnaissance trip he made to Buffalo in March and maps of the store that he drew by hand.

“What we know at this time is that a private, invite-only server was created by the suspect to serve as a personal diary chat log,” a Discord spokesperson said in a written statement.

“Approximately 30 minutes prior to the attack, however, a small group of people were invited to and joined the server. Before that, our records indicate no other people saw the diary chat log in this private server.”

It was not clear if any of the people who accessed Gendron’s diary or saw his livestream did anything to alert the authorities or attempt to stop the attack.

Discord said it removed Gendron’s diary as soon as the platform became aware of it, in accordance with the company’s policies against violent extremism.

Buffalo Police commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said on Monday that investigators were working to obtain, verify and review Gendron’s online postings.

Copies of his Discord diary — essentially a transcript of his postings to his private chat log — briefly surfaced elsewhere online after the shooting, along with a 180-page screed attributed to him. Both were laced with white supremacist beliefs echoing a baseless extremist conspiracy theory about a plot to diminish the influence of white people.

President Joe Biden, visiting Buffalo on Tuesday, repudiated such beliefs, saying: “Now’s the time for people of all races, from every background, to speak up as a majority… and reject white supremacy.”

Buffalo Supermarket Shooting
Gendron wrote in his diary that those boards were where he started reading up on the racist ideologies that set him on a path to killing non-white, non-Christian people (Matt Rourke/AP)

Gendron was arraigned over the weekend on a murder charge; a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf and he remains jailed under a suicide watch. He is scheduled to appear in court in Buffalo again on Thursday.

Tech companies like Discord and Twitch, which authorities say Gendron used to livestream the supermarket attack, are under scrutiny for their role as vectors of hate speech.

New York governor Kathy Hochul on Wednesday authorised the state’s attorney general, Letitia James, to investigate social media platforms used by Gendron to determine if they have “civil or criminal liability for their role in promoting, facilitating, or providing a platform to plan and promote violence”.

Discord said it planned to co-operate with Ms James’s probe and is continuing to assist law enforcement in the ongoing investigation into the shooting.

“Our deepest sympathies are with the victims and their families,” the company said. “Hate has no place on Discord and we are committed to combating violence and extremism.”

Messages seeking comment were left with Twitch. Twitch chief executive Emmett Shear told the Harvard Business Review in an interview earlier on Wednesday that the Amazon-owned platform would continue to “invest heavily in ensuring the safety of everyone on Twitch”.

“I think this is an example of one of those places where we’ve done a lot of work, but there is obviously still work to be done,” Mr Shear said.

Attempts to reach representatives of two other tech platforms governor James is investigating, 8kun and 4chan, were unsuccessful. Gendron wrote in his diary that those boards were where he started reading up on the racist ideologies that set him on a path to killing non-white, non-Christian people.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Exclusive
Boris Johnson said Putin does not have to give up power for there to be peace in Ukraine

Putin's made more than 30 nuke threats during Ukraine invasion, Boris tells LBC

Russian President Vladimir Putin has hit back at western leaders for their lack of "machismo" and said it would be ‘disgusting’ to see Boris Johnson topless.

Putin mocks G7 leaders' lack of 'machismo' and says PM would look 'disgusting' topless

Ukraine has retaken Snake Island after Moscow's troops abandoned the strategic outpost in what Russia's Defence Ministry has described as a 'goodwill gesture'.

'Kaboom!' Ukraine celebrates Putin's humiliation as Russia retreats from Snake Island

President Joe Biden listens as Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks

Ketanji Brown Jackson to be sworn in as US Supreme Court justice

An investigator works outside the Bataclan concert hall (Christophe Ena/PA)

Life without parole for surviving extremist who carried out Paris attacks

A shark is seen swimming across a sand bar (Phil Marcelo/AP)

Great white sharks head to Cape Cod as busy tourist season gets under way

Police outside the Bataclan concert hall in Paris (Catherine Wylie/PA)

Men convicted of involvement in 2015 terror attacks in Paris

Salah Abdeslam is believed to be the only surviving member of the group that killed 130 people in the 2015 Paris attacks

Islamic State member found guilty of mass murder for 2015 Paris terror attacks

Vatican Pope Pelosi

Pro-choice Nancy Pelosi receives communion at Vatican despite home city ban

Workers clear debris at the Kremenchuk shopping centre damaged in the Russian rocket attack

Search ongoing for 20 missing after Russian strike on Ukraine shopping centre

People attend a community vigil for the dozens of people found dead in a trailer in San Antonio

‘Difficult process’ identifying Texas lorry trailer death victims – authorities

World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

US abortion ruling ‘a setback’ that will cost lives, says WHO chief

Dutch farmers protesting against government plans gather for a demonstration at Stroe

Dutch PM condemns farmers’ protests at minister’s home

Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, is sworn in by committee chairman Bennie Thompson

Trump dismissed January 6 threats and wanted to join crowd, says former aide

India Killing

Hindu tailor killed in cleaver attack amid religious tensions in India

The superyacht Amadea, which was seized by the US from a Russian oligarch

£25bn from Russian oligarchs frozen in multinational seizure effort