More chilling details have emerged about the racist mass shooting incident that claimed the lives of 10 people at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York on May 14.
According to the Buffalo News, Latisha, a Tops employee who survived the tragic shooting hid behind the customer service counter as the suspect, 18-year-old Payton S. Gendron, began shooting. Latisha called 911 to send help, whispering to the dispatcher as she feared the shooter would hear her.
“When I whispered on the phone to 911, the dispatcher would start yelling at me saying ‘Why are you whispering? You don’t have to whisper.’ and I’m trying to tell her ma’am he’s in the store, he’s shooting, it’s an active shooter, I’m scared for my life,” Latisha, who has spent the last 13 years working at Tops as an assistant manager, told WGRZ of the frustrating exchange.
Then, the dispatcher hung up on her.
“She said something crazy to me, and she hung up in my face. I had to call my boyfriend to tell him to call 911.”
People in the community are still struggling to process the vicious attack, and for Latisha, the tragic incident stirs up emotional wounds from the City Grill shooting in 2010 when a gunman opened fire at the restaurant, killing four people and wounding four more. One of those victims was her brother.
“I was there when that happened and that was a massacre, and now I have to relive a whole other massacre,” Latisha said, adding:
“I can’t sleep. I can eat a little bit, but I just keep hearing gunshots and just seeing the bodies.”
On May 16, authorities released more information about Gendron’s motive behind the shooting. Social media posts from the gunman indicate that he had been planning the attack for months.
“We found some things that show that he was here in early March, and then again, we know he was here on Friday, basically doing reconnaissance on the area,” police commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told CNN’s Erin Burnett. “He was in the store, both on Friday and Saturday.”
On the social media platform Discord, Gendron said he visited the supermarket in March between the hours of 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Authorities reported that he took detailed notes of how many “Black and White people were there” and drew a comprehensive map “depicting the store aisles, pharmacy, bakery and exit points of the building.”
On his last visit before the shooting, Gendron said a “Black armed security guard” grew suspicious because he had seen him “go in and out.” He told the guard that he was collecting “consensus data,” but the guard asked him to speak to a manager.
“I asked for his name and he told me and I instantly forgot, then I said bye and thanks and walked back to my car,” Gendron’s chilling post reportedly read, according to officials. “In hindsight that was a close call.”
“I’m going to have to kill that security guard at Tops I hope he doesn’t kill me or even hurt me instantly.”