BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (PIX11) — The alleged gunman accused of killing 10 in a Buffalo grocery store was found not to be dangerous during a psychiatric evaluation a year before the massacre, Broome County District Attorney Michael Korchak said Wednesday.
Without mentioning Payton Gendron by name, Korchak explained what happened when the teen was picked up by police in June of 2021. He’d made concerning comments about murder and suicide during an online class. The teen, then 17, told his teacher and investigating state police it was a joke. He was taken to a hospital, evaluated by mental health professionals, and released.
“They don’t have a crystal ball, they can’t read into the future,” Korchak said about the school workers, police, and medical professionals.
Korchak held Wednesday’s press conference to set the record straight on information regarding Gendron’s interactions with law enforcement before the Buffalo shooting. He said there’s misinformation on social media and in the news
The DA couldn’t share additional details based on HIPAA laws but explained that generally if someone was determined to be dangerous, they’re immediately committed and taken to a hospital for further evaluation.
“At that point, he was not a threat,” Korchack said about the teen.
Gendron returned to school and graduated, Korchak said. He had no history of being treated for mental illness that officials are aware of, Korchak said. His comment about murder and suicide did not mention firearms.
“Everyone has the right to be stupid,” Korchak said when asked why there weren’t more concerns about the teen’s comments.
The DA did say he thinks the teen fell through the system’s cracks. Once Gendron graduated, no one from the school was monitoring him. He was off the radar from June of 2021 until the Saturday attack.