ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Associated Press is reporting that the alleged gunman posted over 600 pages of blog posts online.
News 8 obtained a full copy. In it, he mentions Rochester several times.
The pages come from social media site Discord. News 8 has decided not to show any of this, as it is disturbing. In the posts, he discusses potential targets in Rochester, including a few churches.
Reverend Lewis Stewart with United Christian Leadership Ministries in Rochester spoke to us on behalf of the Black faith community. He says he is shocked and horrified any business, street or church could’ve been a target.
“Unless we deal with it, nothing else is going to change,” Stewart said. “Certainly our pastors are taking precautions, I know I am taking precautions.”
He says the black faith community has been facing threats and violence for years.
Here in Rochester, a Black Baptist church was bombed in the ’70s. Another black church received bomb threats in the ’80s.
“This whole problem, white racism, militia groups, has been part of our existence,” he said.
Jaclyn Schildkraut is a criminology professor at SUNY Oswego and national expert on mass shootings.
She says the Discord posts will be crucial in this investigation; investigators will be looking for motive, warning signs and premeditation.
One of the most important questions: How?
“He thought about it, planned on addressing it in a violent manner, and eventually he made a decision that he was going to do that and he began planning to,” Schildkraut said.
“We have to look at the method and the means for how he went from that radicalization to that grocery store.” She says moving forward, the general public should practice mindfulness in real life and online.
Shooters often go public in some way with plans; something she calls “leakage”.
“Usually one if not more people know about it but don’t come forward,” Schildkraut said. “Most of the general public, myself included, are not trained in threat assessment, so if we see something we should say something.”
Rochester Police say they’ve acknowledged the potential threats circling around online, and take any threat with utmost importance. They say at this point, they continue to stand by the officers involved and defer further questions to the Buffalo Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
News 8 has also reached out to the city and is awaiting a response.
Full statement from Rochester Police:
“As with everyone else in our community, the Rochester Police Department is horrified at the tragic shootings that occurred in Buffalo on Saturday. Chief Smith has been in contact with Commissioner Gramaglia of the Buffalo Police Department and has offered the full support of the Rochester Police Department.
We are aware of social media posts circulating online from the alleged shooter that purportedly indicate locations within the Rochester community. We take these potential threats, and any other potential threat towards the safety of our community, with the utmost importance. The Rochester Police Department is continuing to work with our local, state and federal partners to verify information and act upon it accordingly. Thankfully, the brave men and women of the Buffalo Police Department took the suspect into custody, rendering him no longer a threat to society. We encourage anyone with information regarding any threats towards the safety of our community to please call 911.
The Rochester Police Department will continue to stand by, ready to assist the Buffalo Police Department in any way we can. Any questions regarding Saturday’s tragic events should be directed to the Buffalo Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigations.“