DOJ charges Buffalo gunman with hate crimes, and says he apologized to a white victim
Updated June 15, 2022 at 12:38 PM ET
Payton Gendron is now facing numerous counts of federal hate crimes and weapons charges related to the May 14 deadly assault on a Tops grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y., the Justice Department announced on Wednesday.
Gendron is accused of killing 10 Black people, and wounding three other people — one Black person and two white people.
The federal complaint lists 26 criminal counts against Gendron, 18, including 10 counts of a hate crime resulting in death.
The complaint alleges that Gendron's "motive for the mass shooting was to prevent Black people from replacing white people and eliminating the white race, and to inspire others to commit similar attacks."
The gunman live-streamed his actions on the internet.
The federal complaint gives a new account of Gendron's movements through the store, up and down its aisles. It also alleges that he apologized to at least one of his white victims:
"After Gendron killed Victim 7, he turned and aimed his rifle at a white male Tops employee ("Victim 8"), who, at some point during the attack, had been shot in the leg and injured. Rather than shooting him, Gendron said, "sorry," to Victim 8, before moving on through the rest of the store in search of more Black people to shoot and kill. At some point during the attack, one of the shots also struck a white female Tops employee ("Victim 9") in the pharmacy area of the store, which is located near the checkout lanes. Victims 8 and 9 survived the attack."Gendron is currently in the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service, according to the Justice Department.
Gendron is currently in the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service, according to the Justice Department. He is scheduled to be arraigned on the new federal charges in a U.S. district court at 10:30 a.m. ET Thursday morning.
He is also facing numerous state charges, including domestic terrorism motivated by hate and 10 counts of first-degree murder.
Hate was quickly seen as the motive for the mass shooting
In the immediate aftermath of the attack, local officials described it as "an absolute racist hate crime," noting that the gunman drove some 200 miles from his small hometown to Buffalo.
Those suspicions were then largely confirmed when an online screed attributed to Gendron emerged that embraced white supremacist ideology and mentioned a plan to target Black people in their own community.
In addition to the threat of racist extremism in the U.S., the Buffalo shooting — and the Uvalde school shooting that followed soon afterward — gave new urgency to calls for new gun laws.
Across the country, there have been 267 mass shootings so far this year, according to the independent Gun Violence Archive.
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While WBFO has chosen not to give the accused gunman extra fame nor gratuitously name him, in stories about his court proceedings, we have opted to identify him. To not do so would be incomplete journalism, and people of color have suggested that anonymity could provide cover to racism that ought to be otherwise exposed and discussed.