Report that retired agent knew of Tops plan ‘has law enforcement cringing’

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Posted at 6:17 PM, May 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-27 18:19:31-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A retired federal agent may have known about plans for the mass shooting at Tops Friendly Markets in advance, according to a story first reported by the Buffalo News.

The retired agent received about 30 minutes advance notice of the plan to commit the attack, sources told Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck.

“If this proves to be true, it absolutely has law enforcement cringing," retired FBI Special Agent Jonathan Lacey told 7 News.

"The fact that there could be a federal agent who knew about this attack — somebody who was sworn to uphold the law, protect citizens and uphold the constitution..."

Lacey currently serves as Principal atSecurity & Training Solutions, LLC.

With dozens of federal agencies, it’s hard to speculate about who was involved – but Lacey expects all agencies will assist the FBI in its investigation.

I think any agency that learned of such a person in their ranks would be horrified and would, and should, take every action to investigate that person," Lacey added.

With experience including active shooter survival training and undercover operations, Lacey says it's important to remember that "if you see something, say something."

People with no involvement in the gunman's plot could have inadvertently seen his material published online. However, authorities are investigating whether the agent may have provided information to the gunman before the attack, the News reported.

“Of course, if you’re in a chat room or some online platform, if you’re admitted to a private server or shown this type of content you need to let law enforcement know," said Lacey. "Dial 9-1-1 or call your local FBI office and tell them immediately. This is life or death.”

Lacey also shared concern about the threat of racially motivated domestic terrorism.

Agents from the FBI are said to be in the process of tracking down and interviewing six people - including the retired agent, according to the News.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Buffalo declined to comment. The FBI office in Buffalo did not respond to the I-Team's request.