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Buffalo grocery store shooting: Suspect worked at hometown market in months before ‘racially-motivated’ attack

CONKLIN, N.Y. – The upstate New York man accused of driving several hours to unleash a racially motivated attack at a Buffalo grocery store held a part-time job at a market in his hometown about four months ago, the business’s owner confirmed to Fox News Digital.

Payton Gendron, 18, worked at Conklin Reliable Market for about three months before he quit roughly four months ago, said John, the store’s owner, on Monday. He would not provide his last name. 

“He put in his two weeks’ notice and left on good terms,” John told Fox News Digital. “Nobody knew him well. He kept to himself.”

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The owner would not comment further. 

Meanwhile, a neighbor at Payton Gendron’s Conklin, N.Y. home told Fox News Digital’s Michael Ruiz the Gendrons were “not a bad family.”

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“They’re quiet,” said the man, who asked to remain anonymous. “Nobody had any hankering of anything like this, that’s for sure.”

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“You would never, just never picture it,” he went on. “Everybody up here, you know, just about knows everybody … And you don’t hold long conversations, but you say, ‘Hello,’ and you’re courteous.”

No obvious law enforcement presence at accused mass shooter Payton Gendron's Conklin, N.Y. home.

“I didn’t even know he had guns,” the neighbor went on. “They’re not hunters or anything. And that’s why it was strange to hear he had three.”

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He added: “It’s just something that people up here in this area just didn’t expect.”

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Gendron’s home is just shy of three hours and thirty minutes, or about 230 miles, from the Tops supermarket on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo.

Gendron, who is White, pulled up to the Tops grocery store around 2:30 p.m. Saturday 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. 

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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. 

Ten people were shot and killed. Three other people were injured.

Eleven of the victims were Black individuals, officials have said. 

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The deceased victims have been identified as: Roberta A. Drury, 32; Margus D. Morrison, 52; Andre Mackneil, 53; Aaron Salter, 55; Geraldine Talley, 62; Celestine Chaney, 65 ; Heyward Patterson, 67; Katherine Massey, 72; Pearl Young, 77; and Ruth Whitfield, 86.

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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, hate-filled manifesto. 

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. 

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“One was a rifle, one was a shotgun … He had an AR-15” inside the store with him, the commissioner added.

Gendron was charged with first-degree murder. He was arraigned late Saturday and pleaded not guilty. He was ordered held without bail and is due back in court on Thursday. 

A spokesperson for the Erie County District Attorney’s office would not comment when asked whether Gendron’s parents faced charges related to the circumstances of the attack. 

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Fox News’ Adam Sabes contributed to this report.

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