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Report: Retired federal agent might have known of Tops attack plan

The Buffalo News reports that the FBI is looking at least six individuals who regularly chatted online with the suspect of the Tops mass shooting on May 14.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo News reports that investigators are looking into whether a retired federal agent knew about the attack at Tops Market on Jefferson Avenue beforehand and did nothing to stop it.

The newspaper says a former federal agent might have had knowledge of the planned attack 30 minutes beforehand and did nothing to stop it, adding that this person may have also been communicating with the accused gunman in online chats about racist ideology.

Citing unnamed sources close to the investigation, The Buffalo News reported that the FBI is looking at least six individuals who regularly chatted online with Payton Gendron, and with whom he shared his plans.

They included what The Buffalo News describes as a retired federal agent.

What its sources could not provide was the name of the individual, what federal agency they once worked for, or even if they accepted the invitation to read about the plan and watch it unfold through a live stream.

In its last public remarks about the case, the FBI indicated why it's important to find out all it can in terms of what lead up to what happened May 14 at the Tops Market on Jefferson Avenue, where 10 people were killed and three more wounded.

"An important part of these sort of incidents is to tell the whole story, that may not be heard in a courtroom at a later date, to understand, to the extent what you can, what the motives are for this gunman? How he became radicalized. What he was reading. Where he was reading it? Who he was inspired by," according to Stephen Belongia, who is the FBI Special Agent In Charge of the Buffalo Office.

But as pointed out that same day by the Buffalo Police commissioner, Joseph Gramaglia, the internet is a vast map to explore. He reminded people how important it is for others to speak up.

"Whether it be a friend, a family member, you need to out these people," Gramaglia said. "If somebody is talking in a certain way, or putting certain things out there, you got to let the law enforcement community know. Let us do our jobs and report that."

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