The former agent is believed to be one of at least six people who communicated with the shooter in a chatroom where white supremacy was discussed, The Buffalo News reported, citing two law enforcement sources with direct knowledge of the investigation. The sources did not name the former agent or say what federal agency he once worked for.
“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,” one of the sources told the newspaper. “What is especially upsetting is that these six people received advanced notice of the Buffalo shooting, about 30 minutes before it happened.”
Authorities investigating if retired federal agent knew of Buffalo mass shooting plans in advance https://t.co/DSKYHUz2jv
— The Buffalo News (@TheBuffaloNews) May 27, 2022
The 18-year-old shooter, who The Daily Wire is not naming as part of a policy to deprive mass killers of the notoriety that often motivates them, killed 10 people and wounded at least three more in an attack at a supermarket May 14. Authorities say he drove three hours to the site, which he chose because it was frequented by black shoppers.
In addition, the shooter, who was captured and is being held in jail, reportedly posted a twisted journal online in which he spewed his racist beliefs, support for radical environmentalism and dislike of Fox News.
The Buffalo News was unable to determine if the retired agent accepted the invitation to the chat in which the accused shooter wrote of his monstrous plan. But the FBI did verify that no one who regularly visited the chatroom called law enforcement to warn of the pending massacre.
The bureau is in the process of tracking down the six people, including the retired agent, to interview them and determine if any of them can be charged, the two sources told The Buffalo News.
The New York Times previously reported that the shooter had invited a small group of people into a private chat room on the messaging platform Discord to review his plan about 30 minutes before the massacre. The Washington Post later reported that 15 people accepted [the suspect’s] invitation into the chat room and were able to review his plan and watch his livestream video as he rampaged through the market.
The FBI is also trying to identify the person the shooter referred to as “Sandman” in his journal. The shooter wrote that “Sandman” advised him about rifles and at one point quoted him in a chilling passage.
“When the time finally comes to deal decisively with a whole host of society’s problems, and not go to prison for it, you’ll know,” the shooter wrote, quoting “Sandman.” Just be ready. You have spent your entire life, from the day you were born, right up to this very moment, reading this sentence, coming to where you are right now. Look around you. Are you content with where you are right now? Are you where you want to be? If so, continue to march. If not, what are you going to do? What’s your plan? Get and keep your mind, body, and spirit right. Pray. Lift. Run. Read. Shoot. And teach your kids to do those things.”