An upstate gun-store owner said Sunday he recently sold an assault weapon to accused Buffalo shooter Payton Gendron — and that he “feels terrible” about the teen’s alleged crime.
Robert Donald of Vintage Firearms in Endicott, NY, told The New York Times he learned from federal agents Saturday night that he had recently sold the 18-year-old suspect a Bushmaster assault weapon.
“I knew nothing about it until I got the call from them,” Donald told the outlet. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Gendron previously said in a race-hating manifesto that he planned to use a Bushmaster XM-15 in his assault, which ended up killing 10 people at a supermarket Saturday.
Donald said he didn’t recall specifics about his gun sale to Gendron because of the volume of customers he serves but that two agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives came to his store at 7:30 p.m. to gather paperwork related to the purchase.
The shop’s background check on Gendron had not turned up any red flags, Donald said.
“He didn’t stand out,” he said of the teen. “Because if he did, I would’ve never sold him the gun.
“I don’t understand why an 18-year-old would even do this,” Donald said. “I know I didn’t do anything wrong, but I feel terrible about it.”
Donald said he rarely sells the type of assault rifle sought by Gendron and instead specializes in vintage pistols.
Gendron reportedly modified the firearm to make it more lethal. Donald said the weapon was legally compliant when sold.
“Even with all of those safety features on it — which is the only way I sell it — any gun can be easily modified if you really want to do it,” the gun-shop owner said.
Gendron is accused of targeting black customers after traveling to Buffalo to carry out the shooting.