Buffalo Mass Shooter Likely Sought Combat Gear Advice on Online Chats

The man who allegedly killed ten people and injured more in a mass shooting at Tops Friendly Markets in Buffalo, New York on May 14, appears to have looked for advice about carrying out violent acts in more than 80 online chat messages collected by Unicorn Riot.

According to passages from the white supremacist manifesto circulating online, alleged shooter Peyton Gendron claimed that he picked up on violent white supremacist ideology from websites like 4chan, specifically the /k/ and /pol/ sections of the website. The /k/ board is for gun enthusiasts, and has been a common factor in other mass shootings.

Gendron reportedly streamed part of the attack on Twitch using the username ‘jimboboiii’. The Associated Press reported that a security guard in the store fired multiple shots at the gunman but had ‘no effect’ due to a bulletproof vest, according to city Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia. Police reported 11 of the victims were Black and two were white; Gendron was arraigned in court Saturday evening on first degree murder charges. Witness Braedyn Kephart and Shane Hill described the shooter to the AP as wearing full camo, a black helmet and a rifle.

“jimboboiii” on Discord Server Discussed Selling Body Armor, Sought Info on Weapons

Unicorn Riot previously collected data from a Discord chat server which includes chats from ‘jimboboiii’ — and other people have also reported finding white supremacist Discord and YouTube messages with this user handle.

On the Discord server called ‘Plate Land’, which featured a lot of talk about guns and armor, ‘Jimboboii’ posted at least 83 messages in the ‘#bag-general’ room between August 1, 2020, and January 1, 2021, with the internal user ID 356560721183506444.

‘jimboboii’ posted at least three images, including ammunition he said he purchased, and a camouflaged plate carrier. He also said that he had obtained access to Vietnam War-era items from his grandmother and the items were at her house. He also discussed trying to sell “military gear” particularly body armor, but said he had his eBay account suspended after trying to do so.

Messages posted by ‘Jimboboii’ on the Discord server ‘Plate Land’ on December 31, 2020

On New Year’s Eve 2020, he asked questions about how to defeat body armor, like “How many non penetrative bullets like 9×19 rounds will it take to go through something like level 4 ceramic body armor?” and, “Would a 30-06 M2 Alternative be better at penetrating armor than a regular M2 Ball? […] I mean M2 alternative i bought some at a gun store the other day” followed by a picture of the ‘M2 Alternative’ ammunition box less than a minute later.

Reverse Google Image and TinEye searches failed to turn up another copy of this ammunition box image, although it is small and has significant JPEG artifacts, which suggests it may be an old image from somewhere on the Internet besides his own camera.

Image posted by ‘Jimboboiii’ on the ‘Plate Land’ Discord server.

He added, “I have a savage axis 30-06, bolt is not smooth when opening or closing but it seems to have good accuracy”.


For more Unicorn Riot reporting on white supremacists see our Far-Right Investigations Desk landing page

4Chan /k/ Weapons Board Linked to Mass Shootings

We have previously reported on a mass shooting connected to the /k/ board. Allen “Lance” Scarsella shot five unarmed protesters at a protest in North Minneapolis in November 2015. Scarsella’s associate, a former U.S. Marine named Julio Alberto Suarez, originally linked up with the Minneapolis shooter via real-world /k/ board meetups in Minnesota. Members of this group appeared on a Unicorn Riot livestream, one of them wearing a /k/ armband, days before the shooting.

Scarsella’s 2017 trial highlighted media clips of himself and friends firing weapons at /k/ meetups. Scarsella was sentenced to 182 months in jail for shooting the protesters. (More reporting about the /k/ board here.)

The Christchurch shooting perpetrated by Brenton Tarrant was a focus of the /k/ board & similar Discord servers. Users feared Tarrant had been a poster. A Unicorn Riot report in 2019 examined the effect of the shooting on these chat servers, which hosted users that aimed to promote copycat attacks.

Due to time constraints we cannot make the entire chat server available today, but we can share the 80-plus messages, none of which contain personal information of anyone he was interested in targeting.

Cover image by Dan Feidt. Chris Schiano contributed research to this report.

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