BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) — The alleged gunman who killed ten people in a racist attack at a Buffalo grocery store on Saturday is from Conklin, New York. The small, mostly white town is just outside of Binghamton. Conklin residents are trying to make sense of the shooting.
Jimays Flea Market is minutes from the suspect’s family home, which was surrounded by law enforcement Saturday night.
Tammy Clapper is one of the owners and has worked at Jimays for over 30 years. She said she recognized the suspect because he used to shop at the flea market.
“Just shocked, completely shocked,” she said Sunday.
Some vendors and workers, she said, knew the alleged shooter.
“They’re shocked. It’s such a small town, and everybody’s shocked that it has happened,” Clapper said.
Tony Nard is one of the vendors and repeated that sentiment.
“You’re always surprised and pained to hear when something like this happens,” Nard said. “And when it hits this close to home, it really is equally painful. You just wonder why…what causes somebody to have that much hatred? To me, it’s just not comprehensible.”
Police say the alleged shooter threatened to attack his high school last year. The threat resulted in a mental health referral.