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Happening: This is Not a Drill

On May 14, 2022 Payton S. Gendron walked into Tops Friendly Market and opened fire with the single goal of killing as many Black people as he could. He was armed with an AR-15 and had 2 more weapons in his vehicle just steps away from the entrance of the supermarket. Written on his weapon was the derogatory N word, along with the names of White people who had been killed by Black people. What drove an 18 year old man growing up in the suburbs to commit such a massacre?

According to neighbors there was no indication that there was anything out of the ordinary going on in the home of Paul and Pamela Gendron from what they could see. In addition to Payton they had two other sons and lived a fairly modest life. There was no indication of any domestic or family violence. There is no record of drug or alcohol abuse and there were no complaints or signs of child abuse. So where did it all go wrong?

In 2021 it is reported that Gendron started exhibiting odd behavior in class. Specifically, there was a time period when classes resumed in person where he showed up to class after the COVID-19 lock down dressed in a hazmat suit. Classmate Nathan Twitchell told The New York Times “He wore the entire suit: boots, gloves, everything. For a week”.

Gendron did not show up on the radar of law enforcement until June 8th, 2021 when New York State Police responded to a generalized threat at Susquehanna Valley Central High School. State police responded to investigate a “threatening statement” made by a 17-year-old student. Gendron was taken into custody and hospitalized for evaluation but he was