What is the Bushmaster XM-15? NY gun shop owner who sold firearm to Payton Gendron ‘feels terrible’

NY gun shop owner Robert Donald said that the gun was legally compliant when he sold it, which suggests Gendron reportedly modified it


                            What is the Bushmaster XM-15? NY gun shop owner who sold firearm to Payton Gendron ‘feels terrible’
Eleven of Payton Gendron's (R) victims were Black and two of them were White (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images and Erie County DA)
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BUFFALO, NEW YORK: An upstate gun-store owner who sold a firearm to the suspected Buffalo gunman Payton Gendron said that he “feels terrible” about the 18-year-old's crime. Robert Donald of Vintage Firearms in Endicott, New York, said that federal agents told him that he had recently sold a Bushmaster assault weapon to Gendron, who gunned down ten people and injured three at the Tops market on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo, New York. The shooting took place in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Eleven of the victims were Black and two of them were White.

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“I knew nothing about it until I got the call from them,” Donald told The New York Times. “I couldn’t believe it.” In a race-hating manifesto that Gendron had created earlier, he had said that he planned to use a Bushmaster XM-15 in his assault.

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Donald said that since he deals with several customers, he did not recall specifics about his gun sale to Gendron. There were no red flags following the shop’s background check on Gendron. “He didn’t stand out,” Donald said of Gendron. “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 added. “I know I didn’t do anything wrong, but I feel terrible about it.”

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People gather outside of Tops market on May 15, 2022 in Buffalo, New York (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Donald explained that he specializes in vintage pistols and rarely sells the type of assault rifle that Gendron came looking for. Donald insisted that the firearm was legally compliant when he sold it, which suggests Gendron reportedly modified it to make it more lethal. “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,” Donald said. An official familiar with the investigation said Gendron didn't have a criminal history that would have shown up on a background check and prevented the purchase of a firearm.

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What is the Bushmaster assault weapon used by Payton Gendron?

Gendron purchased the Bushmaster XM-15 from a licensed guns dealer and reportedly modified it so that the semi-automatic rifle could fit in more ammunition, reports the Washington Post. The gun was used at the Waffle House shooting in Nashville, Tennessee as well as the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Adam Lanza, 20, used this weapon to kill 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The Bushmaster XM-15 is a line of AR-15 style semi-automatic rifles, and carbines, manufactured by Bushmaster Firearms International.

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Gendron had even posted on internet chat forums shortly before the incident, detailing his armor and choice of weapons for the incident. In his message, he had said he was using it because “there are very few weapons that are easier to use and more effective at killing than firearms, especially the Bushmaster XM-15 I will be using." The document included a photograph of his rifle, which he called, “the dreaded military-grade assault rifle-15 as my main firearm for this attack".

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New York has banned assault weapons with magazines with a capacity to hold 10 or more rounds. New York Gov Kathy Hochul said that under state law, the high-capacity magazine allegedly used by the shooter couldn't have been legally purchased in New York. In his document, Gendron stated that he modified his rifle so he could insert a larger-capacity magazine. An official familiar with the investigation said the rifle had a 30-round magazine but police have not said anything yet officially. 

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The 'racially motivated' teen who gunned down ten people and three injured others at a Buffalo supermarket had marked his gun with the name of a victim from the Waukesha tragedy. Gendron had misspelled the name of Virginia Sorenson, a member of the 'Dancing Grannies' parade troupe, who was killed in the Christmas parade. Written across his rifle was also the N-word. 

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The shooter also detailed that he purchased a surplus military-style helmet known as an “Advanced Combat Helmet,” which he then modified to attach a camera so he could live-stream the attack. The helmet he used was made by Zeeland, Mich.-based Gentex Corp., according to the shooter. The shooter chose it because it would stop most bullets, he wrote. He mentioned he got all his information on the weaponry and about what to buy from an online discussion group.

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He wrote that his body armor was made by RMA Armament Inc. He chose it because it was relatively light but would stop most bullets, especially from handguns that police were likely to use. The armor interfered with his ability to shoot, he wrote, “but after training with it I am still very capable of shouldering quickly and reliably.”

Ten people were killed in the shooting (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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Gendron drove from 'hours away' in Conklin, New York, to the Tops market on Jefferson Avenue. The shooting took place in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Eleven of the victims were Black and two of them were White. Gendron arrived at the market at around 2:30 pm on Saturday, May 14, and he “was very heavily armed.

The gunman first opened fire in the parking lot, killing three people and injuring one. He then entered the store, where a longtime security guard and former Buffalo cop tried to stop him. However, the guard's bullet could not pierce the attacker's armor. The shooter then shot the security guard dead. After working his way through the rest of the store, Gendron was confronted by Buffalo cops, who talked him into surrendering. At one point, he had reportedly put his gun to his own neck.

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Gendron is the oldest of four children of Paul and Pamela Gendron, both of who are civil engineers working for the New York State Department of Transportation. He has pleaded not guilty to the killings, his lawyer has confirmed.