The Buffalo shooter that went on a mass killing spree this weekend had made similar threats at his high school less than a year ago.
This past Saturday afternoon, a white 18-year-old drove over 200 miles to Buffalo, NY where he opened fire inside a supermarket within a predominantly Black neighborhood of the city. The Buffalo shooter killed 10 people in his assault but was quickly detained by police officers. Days later, authorities continue to unravel more disturbing details of this mass shooting alleged to be a hate crime, and media outlets are reporting that he had made previous threats of shooting up his former high school.
According to information from NPR, authorities revealed that the Buffalo shooter had made threats of a school shooting just last year. In June of 2021, he made threats to open fire at the Susquehanna Valley High School in his hometown of Conklin, New York. Reports state that it was a general threat, not directed at any individual. Furthermore, they state that he was released after just a day and a half in the hospital for evaluation.
Similarly, Education Week has reported that after his threats to the school, he was never charged with any crimes, and he had no further contact with law enforcement after being released from the hospital. This unveiling of disturbing information concerning the Buffalo shooter has raised heightened concerns and questions depicting a possibly broken legal system that might perpetuate mass shootings to continue. It’s just one more reason that’s drawing many activists to the cause of gun reform.
In New York state, a “red flag” law that was passed in recent years aspires to deter mass shootings. The law allows law enforcement officials, family members, medical professionals, and school officials to petition courts to provisionally detain a person’s firearms, also preventing them from buying more. But at this time, it is still unclear as to whether or not any officials had initiated this law after the Buffalo shooter had made threats against the high school.
What is known so far is that the assault rifle used by the Buffalo shooter was legally purchased at some point. However, the high-capacity magazine was illegally modded onto the weapon. Police also recovered a second firearm and a shotgun from his car. More disturbingly, CNN reports that officials have made note that they believe the gunmen intended to continue his killing spree at another store somewhere in Buffalo.
Of the 13 people injured in the mass shooting, eleven were Black. Officials believe the Buffalo shooter’s attack was racially motivated. He has already been charged with first-degree murder, but hate crime and terroristic charges are believed to be coming as well. Additionally, authorities are working to confirm if a 180-page document that is making its way across the internet is in fact the work of the gunmen. Within its hateful pages, it is alleged that the assault was intended to “terrorize all non-white, non-Christian people” to get them to leave the country.
The timing of the Buffalo shooter’s deadly killing spree comes at a time of extreme polarization fueled by a culture war dividing the country. On the education side of things, much of this is driven by what the left calls hate against groups for race and gender identity. On the other side, many Republicans fuel the debate as an attack on Whiteness. But despite the separation, and what exactly is to blame for it, none of the divides change the fact that another ten lives have been tragically taken in yet another mass shooting.