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Tops mass shooting suspect had threatened a shooting at a high school in his hometown last year

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Posted at 1:24 PM, May 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 23:29:15-04

CONKLIN, N.Y. (WKBW) — The 18-year-old shooter who investigators say killed 10 people at the Tops on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo on Saturday has previously threatened a shooting at a high school.

A law enforcement official told the Associated Press on Sunday that the suspect became the focus of a New York State Police investigation after troopers were called to Susquehanna High School in Conklin in June 2021.

Troopers were responding to a report that a 17-year-old student had made threatening statements. According to ABC News, the suspect wrote a paper saying he wants to commit murder and suicide upon graduation.

The law enforcement official said Buffalo mass shooting suspect had threatened a shooting at his high school and was sent for mental health treatment.

At the time of the incident, state police said the student was taken to a hospital for an evaluation. The outcome of that evaluation is not known.

"The state police brought this individual in for a mental health evaluation. He went to the local hospital. He was there for, the information we have, says about a day and a half, he was evaluated and then was released at that point," Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said.

But despite the mental health evaluation, law enforcement says the suspect was not on their radar.

"He was not on the radar of the FBI. To my knowledge, he was not on the radar beyond the incident with the state police," a representative for the FBI said.

The FBI reported in a news briefing on Sunday afternoon the suspect was not on their radar before the shooting at Tops on Saturday.

The suspect is being held in Erie County custody, charged with first-degree murder. Buffalo police officers took him into custody inside the grocery store. 10 people were killed in the shooting and three others were injured.