BINGHAMTON, NY – Broome County District Attorney Mike Korchak says that under existing law, Payton Gendron’s mental health evaluation last year did not and could not trigger the state’s Red Flag law.

Korchak held a news conference Wednesday at the D-A’s office in Binghamton.

He recounted the circumstances of early June 2021 when a teacher reported that Gendron discussed a murder/suicide in a chat during an online class.

Gendron was a senior at Susquehanna Valley High School at the time.

Korchak says the teacher questioned him about the comment and that Gendron claimed he was only joking.

Nevertheless, the teacher reported the incident to the school which called New York State Police.

A trooper went to Gendron’s home in Conklin where Korchak says he once again called the comments a joke.

Police then took the 17 year-old to the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program, or C-PEP, at Binghamton General for an evaluation.

Korchak says Gendron was kept overnight and released to his parents the next day.

He later returned to school, participated in graduation ceremonies without incident and even had a graduation party.

Korchak says that because the mental health professionals at C-PEP determined that he wasn’t a danger to himself or others, there would not have been justification to seek a judge’s order barring him from purchasing or possessing firearms under the state’s Red Flag law.

Broome County D.A. Mike Korchak says, “The unfortunate thing is the New York State Police, school officials and mental health professionals, they don’t have a crystal ball. They can’t read into the future, they can only evaluate the subject on the information that they had at that time.”

Korchak says his office was notified of the 2021 incident last year.

He wishes in retrospect that there had been more follow-up with Gendron following the June threat to encourage him to seek mental health treatment.

However, following his graduation last year, he lost access to counselors and other mental health professionals available through the school.