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Expert reminds of 'situational awareness' in light of mass shooting in Buffalo

Buffalo Supermarket Shooting
Posted at 10:12 PM, May 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-15 23:12:27-04

CLEVELAND — On Saturday, May 14, 2022, 10 people were killed in a mass shooting at Tops on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo, New York.

As we learn new details of what led up to this mass shooting, experts are reminding everyone steps that can be taken to help prevent and prepare for situations like this. 

Investigators said they’re combing through the accused shooter’s online footprint to learn what led up to walking into this parking lot, holding a rifle with a slur etched into it and opening fire in a racially motivated act of extremism.

“This is someone who has hate in their heart, soul and mind,” Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said. “There's social media platforms, computers, telephones and any other digital items that will come along.”

For national school security consultant Ken Trump, this marks another situation which will require a closer look, including at the 18-year-old’s time at school. 

“We live in a more volatile, uncertain and chaotic world,” Trump said. 

Investigators announced that the individual charged previously detailed the idea of a shooting as he neared graduation at his high school near Binghamton.

In the case of that incident, no charges were filed and he received a mental health evaluation and counseling.

“Oftentimes, we know that warning signs are given away in schools,” Trump added. “We often find that there were warning signs, red flags, manifestos, and other types of threats that had been made in the past that may not have been investigated thoroughly or treated seriously that end up in a tragedy.” 

Trump told News 5 those red flags need to keep coming into the spotlight, helping paint a picture, or in this case, a warning sign to help prevent a worst-case scenario. 

“Many times people will have gut feelings that something's wrong, but they talk themselves out of reporting it, out of fear, of embarrassment, or that they may be wrong rather than reporting something and erring on the side of caution,” he said. 

As for what can be done to help protect yourself from a situation like what happened in Buffalo, Trump said the best defense is simple: Look up. 

“Put the phones down, be aware of what's around you, walking to and from your cars, at stores, at shopping malls, at schools, public entertainment venues, so that we're not trapped in isolation with what's in our hand, but being aware of behavior of people that may be unusual out of the ordinary,” he said.

Buffalo supermarket mass shooting — 'This is an absolute racist hate crime'