The family of 18-year-old man arrested in connection with the racially motivated mass shooting in New York reckon the COVID-19 pandemic may have taken a toll on his mental health, which resulted in him committing the horrific act.
Payton Gendron was dressed in tactical gear when he entered a supermarket at a predominantly black neighbourhood in Buffalo and opened fire. At least 13 people were shot at – 11 of whom are Black and two were White.
The FBI is probing the incident as a hate crime and racially motivated violent extremism.
SUPERMARKET MASS SHOOTING: WHAT PAYTON GENDRON’S FAMILY SAYS
Sandra Komoroff, who is a cousin of Payton Gendron, told the New York Post say the pandemic had made him paranoid.
“I have no idea how he could have gotten caught up in this. I blame it on COVID. He was very paranoid about getting COVID, extremely paranoid, to the point that — his friends were saying — he would wear the hazmat suit [to school]. And then he got COVID just a few weeks ago. … He went to family functions with a respirator mask on. He totally wasn’t going to get COVID — and then he got COVID,” she told the publication.
The nature of the mass shooting has left shockwaves across the US, which is no stranger to racially motivated killings.
“When you’re home all day on the Internet, you’re missing out on human contact. There’s a lot of emotions and a lot of body language you’re not getting as when you see their face”Sandra Komoroff
Gendron will likely face more charges for the shooting. The Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn said Gendron faces a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. “My office is working closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our partners in law enforcement into potential terrorism and hate crimes. This is an active investigation and additional charges may be filed,” he said.
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