The white supremacist Buffalo grocery shooter had only two close friends – a Hispanic man and his black girlfriend, DailyMail.com realized.
And Payton Gendon spent much of his free time with Matt Casado and Skylar McClain in Casado’s cell.
“I just wish I never met him,” Skylar, 19, told DailyMail.com in an interview. ‘It’s a shame.
“I always thought he liked me because I was Matt’s girlfriend. He was in no way involved with me. In no way did he do anything that made me assume he was racist.
Skylar McClain and her boyfriend Matt Casado, all 19, are shocked their friend went on a rampage killing 10 people at a Buffalo grocery store
“He was by no means a sign for me. He never did anything that made me assume he was racist,’ 19-year-old Skylar told DailyMail.com
Neighbor Tim Baker told DailyMail.com: ‘That whole factor just doesn’t make sense given who his friend is’
She said she had identified him since sixth grade but only started talking to him last December because he frolicked with her boyfriend.
Gendon, Casado, and McClain all attended Susquehana Valley High School in Conklin, New York, and all graduated senior year.
“I didn’t know he was racist and I believed with all my heart that he was a good kid until Saturday,” Casado said.
“After eleventh grade, he was considered weird because he didn’t talk much and none of his other friends needed to hang out with him.”
Payton Gendron, 18, of Conklin, NY, has pleaded not responsible to first degree homicide. He is being held without bail and faces life in prison. He is due in court again on Thursday
Gendon, 18, traveled 200 miles from his home in Conklin, near the New York-Pennsylvania border, to Buffalo and went on a rampage at a Tops Friendly grocery store, killing 10 people and wounding two others.
He was caught by officers out of the blue and allegedly put his gun to his own neck before cops persuaded him to put it down.
Police believe he chose this store because it is in a predominantly black area of Buffalo. Of the 12 individuals he shot, 10 were black.
After the capture, law enforcement found a 180-page manifesto that Gendon posted online and was about to leave shortly before beginning his journey north.
At the heart of his writings is the racist concept that whites are changed by non-whites, who must be driven from the nation or slaughtered. Most of his vitriol was aimed at African Americans and Jews.
As DailyMail.com only revealed, he pointed his gun at a white store manager, but walked away apologetically when he realized he was white.
Casado, 19, said Gendon stopped at his cell on Friday, the day before the bloodbath, and dropped off five containers of high-caliber 5.66mm ammunition, a high-powered rifle and two other containers of evidence.
“I was furious because he thought my house was a storage unit because he said he needed to rearrange his house.”
Casado’s mother, Pamela Burdock, insisted that he haul the bins in her nearby trailer because she didn’t need them. around teenagers who can go see his son.
“I told him to put them inside my front door to keep him away from other teenagers. “They’re teenagers, they’re idiots, their brains aren’t developed,” she half-joked.
On Sunday, law enforcement searched the accused gunman’s home in Conklin, as well as a shed on the property.
A bicycle and lawn mower are removed from the shed at Gendron’s home as authorities executed their search warrant on Sunday
A diary with full details of the Buffalo shooting was delivered to Gendron’s parents’ home in Conklin, New York
Peyton Gendron’s handprint from when she was about four years old is etched in concrete In the front yard of her parents’ home in Conklin
Burdock described Gendon as “like my other child.”
“I loved Payton. I’m heartbroken by this,” she said.
Casado, who works at a car dealership, said he spent much of his time with Gendron playing video games such as Minecraft, Roblox and Rocket League.
“These are not shooters and I know Payton’s parents wouldn’t let him play shooters at home, which I respect them for.
But he said he and Gendron do target shooting once a month. “He would go on his own more often,” Casado added.
Casado said he received a call on Saturday afternoon saying his friend was the only suspect in a tragic mass shooting.
“I was coming back from the grocery store. By the time I got home, the police were already there.
The cops took the five boxes of ammunition, he said. “My dad and I went to the state police barracks and gave them a full rundown of everything we knew.”
Casado’s neighbors who knew Gendon said he never showed any trace of racial animosity.
“Payton was here the whole time with Matt,” said neighbor Tim Baker, whose teenage son also attends high school.
“Matt is half Hispanic and his girlfriend is black,” Baker added. “We know her because she’s here every day.”
“It all just doesn’t make sense given who his friend is and who his girlfriend is,” he continued. “He never showed aggression towards his best friend or his girlfriend, as far as I know.”
“I loved Payton, he was like my other kid. He was respectful to me. It breaks my heart that he did that,” said Pamela Burbank, mother of the shooter’s best friend.
Gendon, Casado and McClain all attended Susquehana Valley High School in Conklin, New York, and all graduated last year
Suspected shooter Payton Gendron is taken into custody outside the Tops Friendly supermarket in Buffalo on Saturday
Buffalo shooter Payton Gendron is pictured during his arraignment hearing on Saturday night, where he appeared barefoot and in a paper outfit
Baker said he was convinced that Casado knew nothing of Gendon’s plans to shoot the supermarket. He said it didn’t seem particularly odd because “everyone” in the small town of 5,000 owns at least one gun.
“I saw Matt after hearing about it. He was completely distraught. He couldn’t even get a full sentence.
“He clearly didn’t know Payton could do something like this.”
Another male friend of Casado told DailyMail.com that he would often be with Payton and Casado at a filming space in Pennsylvania, most of them a few months ago.
“He was a good shooter,” said the friend, who asked not to be recognized. “He always had a blank face, not much emotion on his part.”
The friend said he too had heard about the FBI raid on Casado’s family home and that Payton had dropped off the ammunition beforehand. The friend, however, said Payton never explained to Cassado why he had to leave.
“He was curious, but not enough to ask questions,” the friend said. ‘He is flabbergasted. And the fact that he fell on his friend was a white supremacist, that is, by placing his head by means of a loop.