(Video: Fox News)
Sheriff John Garcia of Erie County, New York, is sounding the alarm about the lack of adequate mental health resources in the country, as the increasing violence in America becomes ever more “horrific.”
His warning comes in the wake of the mass shooting allegedly perpetrated by 18-year-old Payton Gendron, who live-streamed the entire time as he entered a Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo and murdered ten people, wounding three others.
Speaking on Fox News‘ “America Reports,” Sheriff Garcia expressed his horror at the shooting and offered his sympathies to the families of the victims as well as to the officers who responded to the scene of horror.
“I pray for the victims. I pray for their families, and also I pray for the officers that responded, because that’s a lot of trauma,” he said. Gendron was charged with first-degree murder and faces life in prison without the possibility of parole. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Garcia cited as a major issue the dearth of mental health resources in America, observing that Gendron was committed to a hospital after making a “generalized threat” in 2021. He underwent a mental health evaluation at the time but was released shortly thereafter.
“He slipped through the cracks,” Garcia said in the interview. “I could understand the anger from family members because that’s unacceptable.”
Given the presence of a 180-page “white supremacist” manifesto, the racial motivations behind Gendron’s alleged shooting haven’t been difficult to ascertain.
“His only intention was to kill as many African-Americans as possible,” Garcia explained. “This is a person spewing a lot of hate. Pure evil.”
Meanwhile, the New York Post is also reporting that the alleged shooter’s relatives are convinced that COVID-induced paranoia and isolation are partly to blame. Despite his threats last year of wanting to commit a mass shooting at his high school graduation ceremony, the family says he never received the help he clearly needed.
“I have no idea how he could have gotten caught up in this,” Sandra Komoroff, a relative of the shooter, told the Post. “I blame it on COVID. He was very paranoid about getting COVID, extremely paranoid, to the point that—his friends were saying—he would wear the hazmat suit [to his school].”
She added that Gendron was isolated to an unhealthy extent, having “bought into” the fear of COVID.
“That’s the only way to say it,” she said. “And when you’re home all day on the Internet, you’re missing out on human contact. There’s a lot of emotions and a lot of body language you’re not getting when you see their face.”
Sandra’s husband, Dave Komoroff, added that Gendron was “very smart,” and that he undoubtedly had plenty of time to discover racist ideology online.
“I don’t know where he went online,” he said, “the dark Web, or wherever—but apparently he got into some nasty stuff. He’s smart enough to get into dangerous stuff online, which maybe the average person wouldn’t know how to get into. I mean, I’m trying to figure it out myself.”
The real question is: what role did the parents have to play? The family was reportedly “well-to-do” and presumably had the resources to get their son some help—especially in the wake of his threats last year of committing a mass shooting at his high school.
“The parents are well-to-do,” Dave Komoroff explained to the New York Post. “Did they put him in some kind of therapy? Because when they get the civil lawsuit, that’s what’s going to come out. Someone’s gonna ask: ‘What did you do last year after this incident?’ They’ll ask the parents: ‘What did you do? What did you do to help this kid?'”
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