Buffalo mass shooting: Grand jury indicts Payton Gendron on terror, hate charge

Payton Gendron, the white 18-year-old accused of fatally shooting 10 Black people in a racist attack at a Buffalo supermarket, was indicted by a grand jury on Wednesday on charges of domestic terrorism motivated by hate and 10 counts of first-degree murder, according to the district attorney's office.

Gendron, who has been in custody since the May 14 shooting, is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday in Erie County Court.

The 25-count indictment also contains charges of murder and attempted murder as a hate crime and weapons possession.

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Gendron had previously been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting, which also injured three people. He has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors told a judge on May 20 that the grand jury had voted to indict Gendron but was continuing its investigation. It was unclear whether the finalized indictment contains any new allegations against Gendron.

Federal authorities also are investigating the possibility of hate crime charges against Gendron, who apparently detailed his plans and his racist motivation in hundreds of pages of writings he posted online shortly before the shooting. The attack was live-streamed from a helmet-mounted camera.

Officials say that Gendron chose the Tops Friendly Market on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo as the location for his alleged attack because it was located in a predominantly Black neighborhood, as he allegedly stated in his manifesto that the area's demographic breakdown has the "highest black percentage that is close enough to where I live."

Eleven of the victims in the attack were Black and two of them were White, according to authorities.

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His attorney, Brian Parker, said he had not seen the indictment and could not comment, adding that prosecution and defense attorneys have been barred by a judge from discussing the case publicly.

Last week, 86-year-old Ruth Whitfield, the oldest of 10 people killed in the attack was laid to rest at a service attended by Vice-President Kamala Harris and New York City Mayor Eric Adams. 

"This is a moment that requires all good people, all God-loving people to stand up and say we will not stand for this. Enough is enough," said Harris, who wasn’t scheduled to speak and came to the microphone at the urging of the Rev. Al Sharpton. "We will come together based on what we all know we have in common, and we will not let those people who are motivated by hate separate us or make us feel fear."

With the Associated Press.