The Democratic governor of New York said social media companies should “be able to identify the second that this hate speech appears.”
Federal and state investigators have interviewed the parents of accused mass shooter Payton Gendron and have executed a number of search warrant in connection with his alleged Saturday attack, which left 10 people dead and another three wounded, officials said Sunday.
New York State troopers and agents with the FBI traveled to 18-year-old Gendron's home on Sunday to speak with the parents have been cooperative with authorities, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told reporters during a Sunday press conference.
“From what I've been told, they're absolutely distraught and devastated,” Gramaglia said.
Payton S. Gendron ((Erie County DA / AP Photo))
Gramaglia told reporters investigators were in the process of obtaining and executing search warrants on Gendron’s home, his vehicle, his social media activity, digital footprint and technology, including telephones and a computer.
Asked if investigators believe there were any other individuals involved, Gramaglia tells reporters: “This investigation is showing that he did this by himself. We are again looking into some other aspects that we’re not going to get into.”
The top cop further noted that law enforcement agents have obtained warrants and will continue to do so “both on the state and the federal levels.”
PHOTOS FROM THE CRIME SCENE & AFTERMATH:
Warning: The following contains graphic images
“We’ll be looking at extensive digital platforms, computers, phones, cameras and anything else that that comes into play in this investigation.”
He added that the evidence so far “makes no mistake that this is an absolute racist hate crime.”
“It will be prosecuted as a hate crime,” he said. “This is someone who has hate in their hearts … And there is no mistake that that’s the direction that this is going in. This will be completely geared toward securing a conviction for this individual.”
On Saturday, U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland called the attack “a hate crime and an act of racially-motivated violent extremism.”
The FBI has since created a webpage dedicated to any tips related to the Saturday attack. Anyone with information related to the attack is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI(1-800-225-5324).
Law enforcement officials have said 18-year-old Gendron traveled from his home to Buffalo on Friday. The next day, he allegedly opened fire at a Tops Friendly Market store, killing 10 people and wounding at least three others.
Eleven of the victims were Black individuals , while the remaining two victims were White, authorities have said. Officials are expected to announce the identities of the deceased victims later Sunday.
So far, investigators have found that Gendron was in possession of “three weapons. There were two in the car and one in his possession,” Gramaglia said.
“One was a rifle, one was a shotgun … He had an AR-15” inside the store with him, the commissioner added.
Gendron, who is White, pulled up to the Tops grocery store around 2:30 p.m. and immediately began firing off shots – wounding four people in front of the market before making his way inside, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said. Three of the four victims died.
Once inside, he exchanged fire with store security guard Aaron Salter, who was a retired police officer, officials have said. Salter fired several rounds at Gendron before the suspect fatally shot him, Gramaglia said.
Gendron then allegedly made his way around the store shooting several other victims. When confronted by police, Gendron placed the rifle to his neck before dropping the weapon and surrendering, the police chief said.
Officials have said the suspect live-streamed a portion of the shooting on social media platform Twitch. A Twitch spokesperson said the stream was suspended within two minutes. Gendron also allegedly detailed his plans in an extensive manifesto.
Gendron was charged with first-degree murder . He was arraigned late Saturday, when he pleaded not guilty and was ordered held without bail.
Erie County Sheriff John C. Garcia told reporters Gendron – whom he refused to name – was being held on suicide watch.
He is due back in court on Thursday. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison without parole.
Fox News’ Adam Sabes contributed to this report.
Stephanie Pagones is a Digital Reporter for FOX Business and Fox News. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @steph_pagones.
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