The white supremacist gunman is branded a ‘coward’ as he was led out from a Buffalo County court on Thursday morning
Payton Gendron, 18, was charged with single count of first-degree murder, but still faces federal terror charges
A grand jury indicted Gendron on first-degree murder for Saturday’s massacre at Tops Friendly Market, located in a predominatly black neighborhood
Gendron who shot 13 people, 11 of them black, allegedly walked the aisles targeting his victims
He killed 10 black shoppers at the Buffalo store in the shooting rampage
The FBI immediately said it was investigating the gun attack as a hate crime and an act of ‘racially motivated violent extremism.’ e
The one count of first-degree murder covers all 10 deaths
In the state of New York state first-degree murder carries a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole
Payton Gendron, the 18 year-old white supremacist accused of murdering 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket stood silently in court Thursday after being indicted by a grand jury on a single count of first-degree murder. It was a crime so disturbing that the FBI immediately said it was investigating the gun attack as a hate crime and an act of ‘racially motivated violent extremism.’
Authorities have pointed to a white supremacist manifesto which Gendron allegedly, posted online before the shooting.
The first-degree murder indictment, which covers all 10 deaths, was handed up Wednesday, Assistant DA Gary Hackbush announced in court.
In New York, prosecutors can charge a defendant with first-degree murder only under special circumstances, including when multiple people are killed in a single incident, such as in the Buffalo shooting where 10 of the 13 people shot in Saturday’s rampage died. In the Gendron case, the single count against the defendant covers all 10 deaths at Tops Friendly Market.
Gendron, who also faces federal terror charges, appeared in court wearing a white mask and bright orange jail scrubs, remained silent throughout the proceeding despite being heckled by a victim’s distraught family member who yelled out, ‘Payton, you’re a coward!’
No domestic terror charges have been filed in federal court at this time. Gendron will be back in court on June 9 at 9:30 a.m.
He is being held without bail.
The courtroom remained quiet until the end as Gendron, cuffed and shackled was escorted out by a heavy security detail, only the sounds of his chains clinking, when one of the victims’ family members yelled out angrily at him from the courtroom gallery.
Thirteen people were struck by gunfire at the supermarket on Saturday, most of them black, and 10 of the victims died, before the gunman surrendered to police confronting him inside the store.
Shortly before the attack, Gendron posted hundreds of pages of his personal manifesto to online discussion groups where he detailed his plans for the assault, laying out his racist motivations.
Before proceedings on Thursday morning, the Erie County District Attorney John Flynn released a full statement:
‘The felony hearing scheduled to occur this morning before Buffalo City Court Judge Craig D. Hannah has been adjourned pursuant to New York State Criminal Procedure Law Article 180.80 due to action of the Grand Jury.
‘The matter is scheduled to return for further proceedings on Thursday, June 9, 2022 at 9:30 a.m. before Judge Hannah. The defendant continues to remain held without bail.
‘There will be no further comment from our office until there is a report following an investigation by the Grand Jury. As are all persons accused of a crime, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.’
In New York, prosecutors can charge a defendant with first-degree murder only under special circumstances, including when multiple people are killed in a single incident, like in the Buffalo shooting. The single count against Gendron covers all 10 deaths at the supermarket.
Following the attack, Gendron posted hundreds of pages of writings to online discussion groups where he detailed his plans for the assault, doubled down on his racist beliefs, and posted photos of him in a hazmat suit at school.
Investigators have been examining documents, which included a private diary he kept on the chat platform Discord.
The massacre at the Tops Supermarket was unsettling even in a nation that has become almost numb to mass shootings. Gendron’s online writings said he planned the assault after becoming infatuated with white supremacist ideology he encountered online.
The diary said Gendron planned his attack in secret, with no outside help, but Discord confirmed Wednesday that an invitation to access his private writings was sent to a small group of people about 30 minutes before the assault began.
Some of them accepted the invitation.
It was unclear how many read what he had written or logged on to view the assault live. It also wasn’t clear whether anyone tried to alert law enforcement.
The manifesto the defendant posted online has been adjudged to be largely ‘unoriginal’. Experts said, ‘much of it is plagiarized from earlier attackers’ manifestos, and features the typical racist memes found on extremist forums.’
Although it is believed that the contents of his diary gave an insight into his mindset.
Entries from the diary included hand-drawn maps of the Tops Friendly Market, where the attack took place, a map of Rochester and a photo of Gendron wearing a hazmat suit while at school.
Further attesting to Gendron’s motivation, investigators said that he had initially scouted out Rochester for the attack, but decided on Buffalo when he discovered it had a larger population of black residents.
This is the second time Gendron has appeared in court following the shooting that left 10 people dead and several injured.
At his initial court appearance last week, Gendron’s court-appointed lawyer entered a plea of ‘not guilty’ on his behalf.
Wearing a paper outfit and mask, the shooter spoke Saturday only to confirm he understood the charge against him. His lawyer said he’d be pleading not guilty, despite Gendron publishing a manifesto and diary outlining his plans, and admitting they were racially-motivated.
Gendron’s online writings said he planned the assault after becoming infatuated with white supremacist ideology he encountered online. Investigators have been poring over that manifesto and other evidence since.
Thirteen people were struck by gunfire, most of them black, and 10 of the victims died, before the gunman surrendered to police confronting him inside the grocery store.
Gendron, from the small southern New York town of Conklin, near the Pennsylvania border, was then scheduled to appear for a felony hearing at a Erie County court on Thursday morning.
He was facing one count of first-degree murder, which in the state of New York state carries a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole.
The FBI having indicated that it was investigating the rampage as a hate crime and an act of ‘racially motivated violent extremism,’ by late Wednesday, the New York House passed legislation that would bolster federal resources to prevent domestic terrorism in response to the racist mass shooting in the stae capital, Buffalo.
The 222-203, nearly party-line vote was an answer to the growing pressure Congress faces to address gun violence and white supremacist attacks.
Under current law, the three federal agencies already work to investigate, prevent and prosecute acts of domestic terrorism. But the bill would require each agency to open offices specifically dedicated to those tasks and create an interagency task force to combat the infiltration of white supremacy in the military.
New York state Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday opened an investigation into several social media platforms she said the Buffalo grocery store gunman used to plan, promote and broadcast the attack.
Governor Kathy Hochul announced additional measures aimed at curbing domestic terrorism, including legislation to tighten New York gun laws and a directive for state police to exercise their authority to disarm individuals deemed a public threat under the state’s red-flag law.
She accused social media sites of allowing violent extremism to flourish, and said the Buffalo shooting reflected an intersection between ‘the mainstreaming of hate speech … and the easy access to military-style weapons.’
Gendron is accused of having webcast video of the attack he was committing in real time onto Twitch, a live video platform owned by Amazon.com.
While Twitch said it took down the video within two minutes, screenshots from the broadcast circulated on social media through the day. And footage of the livestream could still be found on the internet as recently as Wednesday morning.
Authorities said the suspect also is believed to have posted a lengthy racist screed online outlining the ‘great replacement theory’ – the idea that minorities are replacing white people in the United States and other countries – as well as a check list and journal of his attack preparations.
Buffalo police said Gendron first came to the attention of local law enforcement nearly a year before the Buffalo shooting, when police detained him after he made a threat at his high school, and that he was released after a mental health exam.
Hochul said the murder weapon was purchased legally, but modified with a high-capacity magazine that is outlawed in New York.
Eleven of the thirteen people shot in Saturday’s supermarket rampage are black. Ten were killed, also all black, in what feds described as ‘Racially-Motivated’ assault in a predominantly black area of Buffalo.
In total, Gendron allegedly killed 10 people and injured three others in the attack before he was taken down by police officers.
Among those who were killed was security guard Aaron Salter – a retired Buffalo police officer – who fired multiple shots at Gendron. A bullet hit the gunman’s armor, but had no effect. Gendron then killed Salter, before hunting more victims.
Several of the other victims of Saturday’s brutal shooting were just everyday residents doing their shopping, including Ruth Whitfield, an 86-year-old grandmother, who is also the mother of former Buffalo fire commissioner Garnell Whitfield, was killed while shopping for groceries.
She had just visited her husband in a nursing home and decided to stop at the Tops on her way home to get something to eat, WGRZ reported.
Geraldine Talley, 62, and her fiancée had also stopped by the grocery store to pick up food for dinner, but she had asked her to go to another aisle to retrieve something off one of the shelves when the gunfire erupted.
The two were soon separated, and Talley died in the gunfire. She is survived by two adult chidren.
Long time civil rights and education advocate Katherine Massey, 72, was grocery shopping on Saturday when she was fatally shot. Her brother was supposed to pick her up after she finished her errands.
The Buffalo News that she ‘did everything she could to lift up Buffalo’s black community.’
Last year, Massey wrote a letter calling for more federal regulation of firearms, citing both urban street violence and mass shootings.
77-year-old Pearly Young was known for feeding needy residents in Buffalo’s Central Park neighborhood for the past 25 years, had gone to lunch with her sister-in-law on Saturday and was dropped off at the grocer afterwards. Her son was expected to pick her up.
Aaron Salter Jr., 75, is a retired Buffalo police officer who worked as a security guard at the supermarket.
He was fatally shot after confronting accused shooter Payton Gendron inside the store.
Salter’s shots failed to penetrate Gendron’s armored vest, officials confirmed to CBS News,
After he shot at Gendron, the teen returned fire, killing Salter.
Ruth Whitfield, 86, Whitfield had just visited her husband in a nursing home and decided to stop at the Tops on her way home to get something to eat, WGRZ reported.
She was also the mother of Former Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield, according to the television station.
Following the shooting, he said during an interview with the Buffalo News: ‘My mom was the consummate mom. My mother was a mother to the motherless. She was a blessing to all of us. She loved God and taught us to do the same thing,’ he said.
Long time civil rights and education advocate Katherine Massey, 72, ‘did everything she could to lift up Buffalo’s black community,’ The Buffalo News wrote.
She had gone to the supermarket to do her grocery shopping when she was fatally shot. Her brother was supposed to pick her up after she finished her errands, but arrived only after the mass shooting.
Notably in 2021, Massey wrote a letter calling for more federal regulation of firearms, citing both urban street violence and mass shootings.
For 25 years Pearly Young, 77, fed needy residents in Buffalo’s Central Park neighborhood. On Saturday
She had gone to lunch with her sister-in-law and was dropped off at the grocer afterwards. Her son was expected to pick her up, but when he arrived at the store, all was in chaos.
Breast cancer survivor, Celestine Chaney, 65, was a was at the supermarket with her older sister, JoAnn Daniels, because she wanted to buy strawberries for shortcake.
The grandmother-of-six was also picking up some shrimp for her husband, Raymond Daniels, who was with her, told The Buffalo Times.
She never saw Gendron, but heard the sounds of his assault rifle. The couple were trying to flee when she was hit.
‘She fell and I thought she had got up and was behind me, but she wasn’t behind me,’ Daniels recalled.
The youngest victim Roberta Drury, 32, was at the store to buy groceries for dinner when the shooting began. The 32-year-old who relatives said was ‘vibrant and outgoing, could talk to anyone,’ had moved to Buffalo from the Syracuse, New York, area to be with her older brother after his bone marrow transplant, Reuters reports. Drury helped him with his bar, The Dalmatia, and with his family.
One of those killed in the mass shooting is Deacon Heyward Patterson, 68, who family said had a generous disposition. He often would give people rides to and from the supermarket and would help them carry their groceries. This role earned him the nickname ‘Jitney.’
He was also a church deacon and would welcome parishioners and escort them to their seats.
‘He would give the shirt off his back,’ his wife, Tirzah Patterson, told The Buffalo News.
‘That’s who he is. He wouldn’t hurt anybody. Whatever he had, he’d give it to you.’
Geraldine Talley, 62, had entered the store on Saturday to just pick up a few items, her sister, Kaye Chapman-Johnson told ABC News.
She had told her fiancée to go to another aisle to retrieve something off one of the shelves when the gunfire erupted. She is survived by two adult children.
Andre Mackniel from Auburn, New York, who also went by Andre Elliot was in town visiting relatives. The 53-year-old had gone to the store on Saturday to pick up a surprise birthday cake for his grandson, USA Today reports.
Mackniel who is listed as ‘engaged’ on his Facebook page, ‘never came out with the cake,’ his cousin Clarissa Alston-McCutcheon said.
And Margus Morrison, 52, was a father of three who was an active bus aide for Buffalo schools since February 2019. His family later confirmed he was killed in the deadly shooting.