The Buffalo News reports that the alleged gunman behind the racist mass shooting at Topps grocery story in Buffalo, New York, told several online friends about his plans. Among those friends was a retired federal agent in Texas. The shooter and the agent “regularly communicated … in an online chat room where racist hatred was discussed,” according to the report.
All in all, the shooter informed six online friends about what he intended to do, apparently including an offer to look at his tactical plan. It was unclear whether or not they accepted that invitation. None of them alerted the authorities. According to the report:
These were like-minded people who used this chat group to talk about their shared interests in racial hatred, replacement theory and hatred of anyone who is Jewish, a person of color or not of European ancestry,” said one of the two law enforcement officials with close knowledge of the investigation. “What is especially upsetting is that these six people received advanced notice of the Buffalo shooting, about 30 minutes before it happened.”
Agents from the FBI are in the process of tracking down and interviewing the six people, including the retired agent, and attempting to determine if any of them should be charged as accomplices, the two sources with close knowledge of the probe told The Buffalo News.
This report comes on the heels of swirling questions around police actions in Uvalde, Texas, where grieving parents are asking why it took law enforcement upwards of 40 minutes to get into the Robb Elementary School classroom where the gunman shot and killed 19 children and two teachers.
Terrence M. Connors, an attorney representing a few of the victims’ families in the Topps’ shooting, was not shocked, telling the Buffalo News that “as outrageous as this may sound, based upon what we are finding in our investigation, it is not surprising.” He did not elaborate further.