Those writings show that the gunman had easily sidestepped a 2019 state law — known as a “red-flag” law — to buy an assault-style rifle in January, despite having been picked up by State Police and held for a mental-health evaluation last year after making a threat at his high school. The red-flag law allows courts, if petitioned by concerned citizens or officials, to issue orders to seize weapons if an individual is found to be “likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others.”
Under an executive order issued by the governor on Wednesday, State Police would be required to seek such orders in every case in which there is “probable cause.”
Mr. Gendron wrote on Discord that he had lied to officials at the time of his mental-health evaluation last June, saying he was joking on a school assignment about wanting to commit a “murder-suicide.”
“It was not a joke,” he wrote. “I wrote that down because that’s what I was planning to do.”
The case continued to evoke high emotions in Buffalo, the state’s second-most populous city. During the hearing, someone sitting in the court shouted, “Payton, you’re a coward!,” as the suspect was led out in handcuffs.
Buffalo residents entering the courthouse for routine appointments said they felt uneasy with the suspect in the same building, while others mourned.
“It’s an eerie feeling to know that he’s being held and we can’t hold ours anymore,” said Vern Hall, 61, who said he used to deliver newspapers to Ruth Whitfield, an 86-year-old grandmother who was killed in the shooting. “To know that he’s here, to know that he’s here in this city, that he’s sitting, it’s not a comfortable feeling.”