The Buffalo News is reporting a disturbing new wrinkle in the mass shooting that claimed 10 lives in that city. The FBI is investigating whether a retired federal agent learned of the attack about 30 minutes in advance but did nothing, according to the newspaper. Local station WIVB says its sources have confirmed the report. The retired agent has not been identified, though he is believed to be in Texas. Both outlets quote law enforcement sources who say the agent was among a small group of people the gunman invited to review his plans just before the assault.
That syncs with previous reporting elsewhere that the gunman issued invites to people in the Discord chat group. The invites also reportedly would have enabled people to watch a livestream of the attack. The News story suggests the retired agent and at least five others regularly corresponded online with the gunman prior to the shooting. "These were like-minded people who used this chat group to talk about their shared interests in racial hatred, replacement theory and hatred of anyone who is Jewish, a person of color or not of European ancestry," one of the sources tells the News.
“What is especially upsetting is that these six people received advanced notice of the Buffalo shooting, about 30 minutes before it happened," the source adds. One big question is whether the retired agent actually accepted the invitation. The FBI is investigating whether the retired agent or anyone else should be charged as accomplices. The gunman references a mentor-like figure called the "Sandman" or "Saint Sandman" in his racist online screeds, though the Sandman's identity has not yet been established. (Read more Buffalo shooting stories.)