Buffalo, NY mass shooting: Tops Friendly Market shooter Payton Gendron pleads not guilty to hate crime charge in arraignment court

BUFFALO, NY — The white gunman accused of killing 10 black people in a racist mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket Monday pleaded not guilty to federal hate crime charges that could carry the death penalty.

Payton Gendron was charged with hate crimes and gun counts last week. The lawsuit was filed in court by Gendron’s lawyer, who said they hoped to resolve the case before the trial. Gendron wore orange jumpsuits and shackles and remained silent during the brief indictment.

The 27-count federal indictment contains specific findings, including that Gendron planned a significant act of terrorism and targeted vulnerable elderly — specifically, 86-year-old Ruth Whitfield, 77-year-old Pearl Young, 72-year-old Katherine Massey, 67-year-old Heyward Patterson and 65-year-old Celestine Chaney.

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Attorney General Merrick Garland, who halted federal executions last year, has not ruled out seeking the death penalty against Gendron, who turned 19 in June. The Justice Department said a decision on whether to seek the death penalty would come later.

Gendron, who live-streamed the May 14 attack, was arrested just outside the entrance of Tops Friendly Supermarket. He was wearing protective armor and had opened fire on weekend shoppers and employees in the parking lot and in the store. Three people were injured.

“We all know he’s guilty. We saw what he did,” Zeneta Everhart said after the trial. Her son Zaire Goodman was injured in the attack. “The world saw what he did. He posted what he did.”

The store reopened to the public last week, two months after the attack.

According to investigators, the gunman drove more than three hours from his home in Conklin, New York, to a busy grocery store chosen for its location in a predominantly black neighborhood with intent to kill as many black people as possible. He was motivated, they said, by white supremacist beliefs, which he described in online journal entries.

Gendron wrote about staging a livestream attack as early as November, practiced shooting from his car and scouted the store two months before executing the plans, the writings said.

He walked into the store in camouflage gear and a tactical-style helmet equipped with a video camera.

The prosecution calls for the forfeiture of an extensive arsenal recovered from Gendron’s car and home. It includes the Bushmaster XM-15 semi-automatic rifle used in the shooting, as well as a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, a loaded bolt-action rifle, and ammo from the car. Authorities confiscated additional ammunition and firearm accessories from his home.

RELATED | Supermarket shooting: Suspected gunman Payton Gendron livestreamed the attack, authorities say

The federal indictment charges Gendron with 10 counts of hate crimes resulting in death, three counts of hate crimes involving an attempt to kill three people, and another hate crime alleging that Gendron attempted to assault other black people in and around the store kill. It also includes 13 counts of using a firearm in a hate crime.

Gendron is also facing parallel prosecutions on charges including hate-motivated domestic terrorism, murder and attempted murder as hate crimes. Domestic terrorism hate crime charges automatically carry a life sentence. He has also pleaded not guilty to these charges.

The video in the player above is from a previous report.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

https://6abc.com/mass-shooting-buffalo-ny-payton-gendron-hate-crime/12059074/ Buffalo, NY mass shooting: Tops Friendly Market shooter Payton Gendron pleads not guilty to hate crime charge in arraignment court

Alley Einstein

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