Representatives from the Susquehanna Valley School District and SUNY Broome Community College won’t answer questions about Payton Gendron, a former student charged with a racially charged killing in Buffalo.
Gendron is a 2021 graduate of Susquehanna Valley High School who had resided in Conklin. Shortly before graduation, state police were tipped off after he allegedly threatened to commit murder-suicide.
Gendron was interviewed and then taken to the hospital for an evaluation of his mental health. He was released soon after and apparently allowed to participate in graduation activities at school.
School District Superintendent Roland Doig posted a brief statement online Sunday saying that the staff and families of Susquehanna Valley “are unspeakably saddened by the news of the shooting in Buffalo.” But there was no reference to Gendron or what school officials had done in the wake of the threats apparently made less than a year ago.
The school district has now retained global public relations firm Edelman to handle “all inquiries and questions you may have regarding Payton Gendron.” A representative for Edelman said no further statement is expected on the matter as law enforcement investigates the mass shooting that left 10 people dead.
SUNY Broome President Kevin Drumm released a statement Monday afternoon saying “we are heartbroken to learn that the shooter, an alumnus from our community, walked into ‘Tops Market in Buffalo’ with specific intent to kill innocent people of color”.
Drumm’s statement read: “Ten souls were lost and three were injured in an act of sheer violence and hatred. We at SUNY Broome wish to emphasize that we stand firmly united against hatred and intolerance in all their shapes.”
The statement did not say why Gendron, who attended the school for the fall semester, was no longer a SUNY Broome student.
SUNY Broome has released no information about whether Gendron exhibited unusual or threatening behavior during his brief time as a student.
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