Payton Gendron, an outspoken white supremacist, invited fifteen people to a private chatroom called “Happening: This is not a drill,” where he allegedly spent months painstakingly plotting his attack in Buffalo that murdered ten people.
CSU stated that the 18-year-old solicited others on the Discord app 30 minutes before the incident.
Months of writings by an author named Gendron, expressing his twisted ideas and outlining how he’d scouted the Tops Friendly Markets in a mad plan to kill as many black people as possible, were found in the chatroom.
The invitees — and anybody with whom they may have shared access — would have been able to view his posts before the massacre, according to a source familiar with Discord’s internal inquiry.
According to the Washington Post, 15 people accepted the offer, citing a source familiar with the investigation into the messaging network. The accepted individuals could also witness a video stream of the shooting through a link to an account on Twitch, a video streaming service where Gendron allegedly streamed video of his attack, according to a copy of the invite reviewed by the daily.
According to the insider, it’s unclear whether Discord can figure out what the 15 users did after accepting the offer.
Officials from Discord are looking into Gendron’s network on the app to see if he acted alone or with the help of his online friends, according to a source familiar with the investigation.
A Discord representative declined to comment on the invitees, referring the paper to a Wednesday statement in which the firm indicated it was cooperating law authorities.
The representative told the Washington Post, “Hate has no place on Discord, and we are committed to combatting violence and extremism.” “What we know at this time is that the suspect constructed a private, invite-only server to use as a personal diary conversation log,” a Discord representative told CNN.
“A small group of users were invited to and joined the server about 30 minutes before to the attack.” No other persons viewed the diary chat log in this private server before that, according to our records,” the representative noted.
Thousands of conversation posts amounted to a months-long online diary, which was eventually published widely on 4Chan, an internet message board where Gendron claimed to have developed his racist fanaticism.
“Every time I think maybe I shouldn’t commit to an attack, I spend 5 minutes [on] /pol/, and then my motivation returns,” Gendron stated in a 4Chan entry. He also used the diary to describe stabbing and beheading a stray cat at his house in Conklin, NY, and then posting a photo of his bloodied visage.
In the fatal shooting in Buffalo, 200 miles from his small, predominantly white village, Gendron has pleaded not guilty to one count of murder. During his spree, which he livestreamed on Twitch while wearing military-style tactical gear, he is suspected of shooting 13 people in all.
After a grand jury indicted him on the murder allegation, Judge Craig Hannah remanded him in custody and deferred the hearing for Thursday.
The Erie County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment until grand jury proceedings, which could include increased domestic extremism and hate crime charges.
Authorities say eleven of the fatalities were black and two were white.
New York Attorney General Letitia James announced on Wednesday that her agency would look into Discord, Twitch, 4chan, and other platforms used by the gunman to “amplify” his spree.
On Twitter, she stated, “My office is initiating investigations into the social media companies that the Buffalo gunman used to plot, advertise, and stream his heinous assault.”
“The depth and dangers of these platforms that transmit and promote hate without consequence were shown by this terror assault. We’re doing everything we can to put a stop to this harmful behaviour right now and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” she added.
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