Buffalo Gunman Admits Supermarket Massacre

He pleads guilty for life in prison, faces possible death sentence on federal charges
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 28, 2022 10:25 AM CST
Buffalo Gunman Admits Supermarket Massacre
Police walk outside the Tops grocery store on May 15 in Buffalo, NY, where the shooting took place.   (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex, File)

The white gunman who massacred 10 Black shoppers and workers at a Buffalo supermarket pleaded guilty Monday to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges, guaranteeing that he'll spend the rest of his life in prison, per the AP. Payton Gendron, 19, entered the plea Monday in a courthouse roughly 2 miles from the grocery store where he used a semi-automatic rifle and body armor to carry out a racist assault he hoped would help preserve white power in the US.

He pleaded guilty to all the charges in the grand jury indictment, including murder, murder as a hate crime, and hate-motivated domestic terrorism, which carries an automatic sentence of life without parole. Gendron also pleaded guilty to wounding three people who survived the May attack. Gendron, who was handcuffed and wore an orange jumpsuit, showed little emotion through the 45-minute proceeding, just occasionally licking and clenching his lips. He answered "yes" and "guilty" as the judge referred to each victim by name and asked whether he killed each victim because of their race.

Immediate relatives of the victims were joined by Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and the police commissioner in the gallery. Gendron previously pleaded not guilty to separate federal hate crime charges that could result in a death sentence if he's convicted. The Justice Department hasn't said whether it will seek capital punishment. "This critical step represents a condemnation of the racist ideology that fueled his horrific actions on May 14," said Gendron's lawyer, Brian Parker. "It is our hope that a final resolution of the state charges will help in some small way to keep the focus on the needs of the victims and the community." (The gunman had been asked to leave the same Tops store the day before the shooting.)

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