Gunman in Racist Attack at Buffalo Supermarket Charged With Federal Hate Crimes, Could Face Death Penalty (UPDATE)

The gunman in the racist attack in Buffalo, New York has now been charged with federal hate crimes. 10 Black people were killed in the mass shooting last month.

Buffalo news post for June 15 on Complex

Image via Getty/Scott Olson

Buffalo news post for June 15 on Complex

UPDATED 7/14, 2:45 p.m.: Suspect Payton Gendron was hit with a 27-count indictment on Thursday. Per the Department of Justice, the now-19-year-old is charged with “10 counts of hate crimes resulting in death, three counts of hate crimes involving an attempt to kill three injured individuals, and one hate crimes count alleging that Gendron attempted to kill additional Black people in and around the Tops grocery store.”

He also faces 13 counts of “using, carrying, or discharging a firearm in relation to the hate crimes.”

“Today, a grand jury has indicted Payton Gendron with hate crime and firearms offenses following the horrific attack on the Black community of Buffalo that killed 10 people and injured three others on May 14, 2022,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland stated. “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.”

As previously reported, Gendron could receive a maximum sentence of life in prison or execution. The DOJ writes that Garland “will decide whether to seek the death penalty at a later time.”

See original story below.

The accused shooter in the racist attack at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York last month has now been charged with federal hate crimes.

Per a report from the Associated Press, 18-year-old Payton Gendron—who was previously charged in connection with the attack at the state level—now potentially faces the death penalty. 

Gendron is accused of fatally shooting 10 Black people at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo on May 14. Days later, he was indicted by a grand jury and entered a not guilty plea. He also later pleaded not guilty to a domestic terrorism-related charge.

The Department of Justice announced Wednesday that Gendron has been charged with 10 counts of hate crime resulting in death, three counts of hate crime involving bodily injury and attempt to kill, 10 counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence, and three counts of use and discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

An arraignment is set for Thursday. As alleged in the complaint, Gendron’s motive in the racist attack “was to prevent Black people from replacing white people and eliminating the white race, and to inspire others to commit similar attacks.” He is currently in custody with the U.S. Marshals Service.

Gary Whitfield Jr., whose mother Ruth Whitfield was among the 10 killed in the May attack, recently called on lawmakers to fulfill the expectations of their roles during comments delivered at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

“I ask every one of you to imagine the faces of your mothers as you look at mine and ask yourself, is there nothing that we can do?” he said. “Is there nothing that you personally are willing to do to stop the cancer of white supremacy and the domestic terrorism it inspires?”

If the answer to those questions is “no,” Gary said, then it’s time for lawmakers to vacate their respective positions.

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