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Payton Gendron is accused of gunning down 10 Black people at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store.

But while his family members don’t seem to be suffering under any delusion of his innocence, that doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering from any other delusions.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s understandable that the first instinct of a suspected criminal’s family members might be to speak out in their relative’s defense—blood is blood, after all—but there are certain crimes that are so heinous and monstrous that any perceived defense of the perpetrator could be perceived as cruel and disgusting. In this case, it actually gives a little insight into just what kind of family could spawn and raise such evil.

Two of Grendon’s extended family members shared with the New York Post their theory about what led to the 18-year-old’s alleged shooting spree. Y’all want to take a guess at what the excuse might be? Maybe video games? Violent movies and TV shows? Rap music?

How about COVID-19?

Couldn’t be, right?

The idea that the coronavirus pandemic had anything to do with why a suspected white supremacist would target a Black neighborhood for a mass shooting is unconscionably ridiculous to a point where it’s not possible anyone could think this was a plausible excuse, amirite?

“I have no idea how he could have gotten caught up in this. I blame it on COVID,’’ Sandra Komoroff, a cousin of Gendron’s mother, told the Post. “He was very paranoid about getting COVID, extremely paranoid, to the point that—his friends were saying—he would wear the hazmat suit.”

I. Blame. COVID.

Imagine the degree of indifference to Black death it would take to even think such a thing let alone say it out loud. And this wasn’t just an instance where Komoroff spoke without thinking. On the contrary, she seems to have put a lot of thought into this excuse.

From the Post:

”And then he got COVID just a few weeks ago. … He went to family functions with a respirator mask on. He totally wasn’t going to get COVID — and then he got COVID.

“They were vaxxed to the max,” she said of the family. “I don’t know if it was a bad case, I just know he caught it.”

She added that Gendron had “bought into the fear of COVID.

“That’s the only way to say it. And when you’re home all day on the internet, you’re missing out on human contact,” Sandra said. “There’s a lot of emotions and a lot of body language you’re not getting [as] when you see their face.”

So, to recap: Gendron got infected with COVID-19, which he had already “bought into the fear of,” and he suffered through quarantine—just like billions of people around the world—and that caused him to morph into a racist mass killer? Got it. 

Sandra’s husband, Dave Komoroff, suggested his wife’s “theory” was perfectly reasonable.

“In theory, (COVID) could have affected what they call the lizard brain—the part of the brain that controls aggression,” he said. “I can’t say it’s impossible, but maybe that would happen one out of so many millions of times.”

As for Gendron and his alleged white supremacist manifesto, the Komoroffs appear to be dumbfounded as to where he could have picked up such an ideology.

“I don’t understand the racist thing, because my family is the farthest thing from racist,” Sandra Komoroff added. “I’ve never heard a racist comment from him, from his parents. It’s almost like he just snapped. Something in him broke.”

OK, first of all, this is coming from a woman who is apparently so racially insensitive that she came up with COVID-19 as an excuse for a white teen allegedly targeting and killing 10 Black people and wounding numerous others. So, if she and her husband are any example, then no, this family does not appear to be “the farthest thing from racist.”

Dave Komoroff, of course, appeared to blame Gendron’s internet activity for his “sudden” racism.

“I don’t know where he went online—the dark web, or wherever—but apparently he got into some nasty stuff,” he said. “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.”

To be sure, Gendron isn’t some cyber genius who cracked the KKK code and found websites “the average person” isn’t smart enough to access.

The friends of Gendron’s family aren’t much better.

“You try your best as a parent. Something went wrong,” Jerry Kozlowski, a friend of Gendron’s parents said. “Parents miss stuff. You try as a parent the best you can. I’m sure they did. I’m grasping what happened to this young man. Why? What possesses you to go out and buy a device that is going to do that to people?”

Cathy Kozlowski, Jerry’s wife, expressed a similar sentiment about Gendron’s parents.

“Pam and Paul and the boys—I can’t imagine what that family is going through right now,” Cathy Kozlowski said referring to Gendron’s parents by their first names along with their other sons. “For Paul to face going back to work, for Pam to face going back to work, for the boys to face going to school, it’s not going to happen, at least right away. Maybe they’ll have to move somewhere else, because they’re going to get nothing but hate.”

Ten Black people were mercilessly killed leaving behind grieving families, but the Gendron’s family and their friends are somehow worried about what the suspected murderer’s parents are going through right now. The fact that it doesn’t even occur to them how insensitive they’re being says a lot.


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