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The Buffalo suspect bought a rifle months after cops ordered a psychiatric evaluation

BUFFALO, NEW YORK - MAY 15: Police and FBI agents continue their investigation of the shooting at Tops market on May 15, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. A gunman opened fire at the store yesterday killing ten people and wounding another three. The attack was believed to be motivated by racial hatred. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NEW YORK - MAY 15: Police and FBI agents continue their investigation of the shooting at Tops market on May 15, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. A gunman opened fire at the store yesterday killing ten people and wounding another three. The attack was believed to be motivated by racial hatred. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The weapon used in Saturday's shooting in Buffalo was purchased this year from a vintage gun store near the suspect's hometown, the owner of the gun shop confirmed to NPR.

Robert Donald, 75, the owner of Vintage Firearms in Endicott, N.Y., told NPR that the firearm was purchased in 2022. And he confirmed that he had run a background check on Payton Gendron, the 18-year-old suspect, but that the report showed nothing.

The purchase took place months after New York state police briefly took Gendron into custody after he made a threat about a shooting, as authorities have described.

Last June, state police investigated Gendron and ordered a psychiatric evaluation. After a day and a half in a hospital, he was released, authorities say. Afterward, he did not remain on law enforcement's radar.

The timing of the gun purchase, along with Donald's report of a clean background check, raises questions about why a police-ordered mental health evaluation would not have appeared on the report.

Donald's store typically sells vintage and collectible firearms. In an interview with The New York Times, he said his store only sells about half a dozen assault rifles each year – and that Gendron did not stand out.

In the suspect's 180-page screed posted online, the suspect described the gun as a Bushmaster XM-15, an AR-15-style rifle.

Police said Sunday that they recovered two additional guns from his car, a second rifle and a shotgun, but did not release further details.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.