The Buffalo supermarket shooter, white supremacist Payton Gendron, has pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree murder and hate-driven domestic terrorism. The 19-year-old opened fire at a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood in May, killing 10 and injuring three others in the racially motivated attack.
“It was established beyond a reasonable doubt that he had this gruesome motive, that in just over two minutes he murdered as many African Americans he could,” Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said. “Justice has been done today.”
Just four months ago, Gendron pleaded not guilty to more than two dozen federal hate crime and weapons charges related to the shooting
On May 14th, the avowed white supremacist went into Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York with the explicit purpose of killing African Americans.
“The suspect, who broadcast the attack in real time to the livestreaming service Twitch, is a white supremacist who targed the grocery store because it was the hub of a tight-knit, predominantly African-American neighborhood in Buffalo,” Reuters reported.
Gendron drove three hours from his home in Binghamton to the Buffalo store. The then 18-year-old suspect shared a 180 pages long hateful and bigoted manifesto online prior to the attack and posted a live-stream video of the massacre.
Wearing tactical gear, the domestic terrorist intended to “kill as many African Americans as he could,” according to Reuters.
“The truth is my personal life and experiences are of no value. I am simply a White man seeking to protect and serve my community, my people, my culture, and my race,” Gendron said.
With Gendron facing life in prison, civil rights attorney Ben Crump called for him to be given the harshest sentence the law allows.
“We don’t want it to be marginalized because these were Black people. We want the whole world to never let this be swept under the rug,” Crump said. “We want the same justice if the races were reversed.”
Gendron is the first defendant in New York to be indicted on the first-degree charge of domestic terrorism motivated by hate.
New York state doesn’t have the death penalty, meaning life in prison is the best justice can do.
Gendron is also being tried on federal hate crime charges and faces the death penalty in that case.
Sentencing in the state case is scheduled for February 15, 2023.
Original reporting by Rich McKay at Reuters.
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