Buffalo mass shooting suspect indicted on federal hate crime charges

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A 19-year-old accused of killing 10 black people in a racist attack on a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, in May has been indicted on more than two dozen federal hate crime and firearm charges.

Payton Gendron has been charged with 27 counts, including 10 counts of hate crimes resulting in death, three counts of hate crimes involving an attempt to kill, and 13 counts of using, carrying, or discharging a firearm in relation to the hate crimes.

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“The Justice Department fully recognizes the threat that white supremacist violence poses to the safety of the American people and American democracy. We will continue to be relentless in our efforts to combat hate crimes, to support the communities terrorized by them, and to hold accountable those who perpetrate them,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

Payton Gendron is led into the courtroom for a hearing at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Thursday, May 19, 2022. He was charged federally in a 26-count criminal complaint on Wednesday, June 15, 2022.

Matt Rourke/AP

A federal grand jury indicted Gendron on all 27 counts on Thursday.

Gendron, who is white, is accused of shooting 13 people, 11 of whom were black, at Tops Friendly Market on May 14 in what officials are calling a racially motivated attack. He allegedly arrived at the store heavily armed with tactical gear and livestreamed a portion of the shooting, which ended with Gendron surrendering to law enforcement outside the store. Ten people were killed and three were wounded.

Gendron has also been indicted on criminal charges in New York, including a charge of domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate in the first degree, 10 counts of murder in the first degree, 10 counts of murder in the second degree as a hate crime, three counts of attempted murder in the second degree, as a hate crime, and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, an armed felony. Gendron, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, is currently in the state’s custody.

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Gendron faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment or the death penalty if convicted on the federal charges. Garland has yet to decide if he will seek the death penalty for Gendron, according to the release.