supermarket shooter in Buffalo has pleaded guilty to terrorism and murder charges
Supermarket shooter in Buffalo: Monday, Payton Gendron pled guilty to state charges stemming from the May shooting at a Buffalo Tops supermarket. Gendron pleaded guilty to a total of 15 charges, including domestic terrorism motivated by hatred, murder, and attempted murder. He is still facing more than a dozen federal charges, some of which carry the death penalty. His sentencing date is set for February 15, 2023. Domestic terrorism motivated by hatred is punishable by life in prison.
“Thank God for the families and victims who survived this and this community don’t have to go through a long, drawn-out trial,” Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said after the hearing. “Nothing will ever bring back the ten beautiful people who died that day.” There were ten empty chairs at the Thanksgiving dinner this past Thursday… I’ll never be able to provide complete closure. There will never be complete closure for the families.”
According to the Erie County district attorney’s indictment, Gendron fatally shot ten Black people “because of the perceived race and/or color” of the victims.
He was charged with a “domestic act of terrorism motivated by hatred,” as well as 10 counts of first-degree murder, 10 counts of second-degree murder as a hate crime, three counts of attempted murder as a hate crime, and one count of criminal possession of a weapon.
Flynn claimed Gendron illegally modified his gun, practiced shooting at Broome County state parks, and wrote a 180-page racist manifesto that included the names of previous mass shooters he admired.
White supremacist rhetoric on the internet, including the promotion of racist conspiracy theories, has previously been linked to Gendron and his motivation for the Buffalo attack, according to ABC News. According to officials, Gendron traveled from his home near Binghamton, New York, to carry out the shooting.
A document of Gendron’s uncovered by investigators outlined “the goals behind the attack which were to kill as many African Americans as possible, avoid dying, and spread ideals,” Flynn said. “The document also detailed the defendant’s hateful beliefs, specifically his hatred for African Americans, Jewish people, immigrants, and other minorities.”
Gendron is the first person charged with domestic terrorism motivated by hatred in New York under a 2020 statute enacted in the aftermath of a shooting targeting Latinos in El Paso, Texas, in 2019. Federal prosecutors have charged him with 26 counts of committing a hate crime resulting in death and a hate crime involving bodily injury. He’s also accused of using a firearm to commit murder during a violent crime. Gendron’s public defender entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf in July.
“His decision to plead guilty will bring some justice to the families, but it will not put an end to the racism that drove him to kill in the first place,” said Rev. Al Sharpton, founder, and president of the civil rights organization National Action Network. “That horrific day was the result of a white supremacy so blatant that its followers don’t hide behind a hood they Livestream their hatred for everyone to see,” referring to the Livestream of the shooting captured by a camera mounted on Gendron’s helmet during the attack. The families of Buffalo victims are expected to speak following the hearing.