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Suspect in Buffalo mass shooting visited Tops two months before attack, was confronted by security guard

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Posted at 5:24 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 18:19:32-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The suspect in the mass shooting at Tops on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo planned out the attack at least two months in advance, according to new documents obtained by ABC News.

The 18-year-old man from Conklin, New York is charged with first-degree murder, accused of killing 10 people and injuring three others. The mass shooting is being investigated as a hate crime.

EDITOR'S NOTE: 7 News has made the editorial decision to not name the suspect unless absolutely necessary to coverage, and will only show images of the suspect in coverage of his trial.

The 589-page document obtained by ABC News indicates the suspect visited the Tops location on March 8, more than two months before the attack, and was confronted by a security guard. The document details an interaction he had with a Black armed security guard at the store.

One of the victims in Saturday's shooting was Aaron Salter, a security guard at Tops. Salter fired at the suspect but did not pierce his body armor. The suspect returned fire and killed Salter. It is unclear whether Salter was the same security guard who confronted the suspect in March.

The document includes sketches of Tops with aisles outlined. It also includes social media posts dating back to December 2021. The posts were made on Discord, a platform where users can communicate on private and public services using voice, video and text. They are also able to upload files and media.

According to ABC News, investigators are looking into the document's origins and authenticity and trying to determine who else may have had access to it.

The suspect is being held without bail in Erie County. A felony hearing is scheduled for May 19.