Company that sold Tops gunman body armor left controversial digital trail
Before the May 14 massacre at the Tops Markets on Jefferson Avenue, the accused 18-year-old gunman turned to an Iowa man named Cory Clark for advice on purchasing body armor.To get more news about green bulletproof vest, you can visit bulletproofboxs.com official website.
According to his online diary, Payton Gendron and Clark – a customer service specialist for the Iowa-based body armor manufacturer RMA Armament – interacted over a period of months on both the public social media site Reddit and in a private chatroom for weapons enthusiasts.
A Buffalo News review of nearly 3,200 posts Clark made on Reddit, as well as related marketing activity on platforms including YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and Discord, show that RMA has for years marketed military-grade body armor to civilian buyers ranging from firearms hobbyists to doomsday preppers.
Under the username shorta07, Clark promoted RMA as one of “very few manufacturers” to sell directly to the public. He has suggested buyers circumvent civilian body armor restrictions in one state and advised Reddit users on the types of body armor that protect against military bullets.
The company also works with an online influencer who has posted video "satires" about killing federal agents. In August 2020, Clark encouraged Redditors to stock up on body armor before the presidential election.
When Gendron finally placed a $607 order for the bulletproof RMA armor he wore during his attack, he left a single note on the order form:Selling body armor to civilians is legal in most cases, and there is no indication that Clark knew about either Gendron’s plans or his violent, racist ideology. Representatives for RMA opened, but did not respond to, emails seeking interviews for this article, and Clark hung up on a Buffalo News reporter after he was asked about his contact with Gendron.
In a May statement to The News, RMA Armament said it was “saddened by the senseless act of violence that occurred in Buffalo” and that its products “are intended for the protection of law-abiding private citizens, police departments and government partners.”But the company’s sales and marketing practices could expose it to lawsuits, three legal experts said, particularly given the role that body armor played in the Tops massacre.
Police have said that Gendron’s RMA-made body armor stopped a bullet fired by security guard Aaron Salter Jr., allowing Gendron to return fire and kill seven additional people, including Salter, inside the supermarket.
Attorney Terrence Connors, who represents the families of several victims as well as individuals injured in the attack, said his firm is actively investigating RMA’s marketing practices.