Buffalo Shooting: Shooter pleads guilty to domestic terrorism motivated by hate, murder will receive life sentence

BUFFALO, NY– Payton Gendron pleaded guilty Monday to the racist murders of 10 black men at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo.

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Gendron pleaded guilty to a total of 15 counts, including hate-motivated domestic terrorism, murder and attempted murder. He still faces more than two dozen federal charges, some of which include the possibility of the death penalty.

Gendron “planned and carried out a racially motivated attack” spurred on by white racist ideology specifically targeting black people, said Erie County District Attorney John Flynn.

Flynn said Gendron illegally modified his gun and practiced shooting at state parks in Broome County.

Gendron traveled more than three hours from his home near Binghamton, New York, to carry out the shooting in a predominantly black East Buffalo neighborhood after posting on social media about the surrogate racist conspiracy theory.

The attack was caught by a surveillance camera at Tops supermarket and a helmet cam worn by Gendron, who he used to live stream on Twitch.

A 180-page document believed to have been posted online by the suspect is a hateful screed fixated on the notion of “replacement theory,” a white supremacist belief that non-whites will eventually replace whites be because they have higher birth rates, authorities said. According to Flynn, the document also included the names of previous mass shooters whom he admired.

Shonnell Harris Teague, operations manager at Tops, said she saw the Gendron sitting on a bench outside her Tops store the day before the shooting. He sat outside the store for several hours dressed in the same camouflage outfit with a camper bag on his back, she said.

“He was wearing the same clothes but he had RV gear on his back like he was asking people for loose change,” Teague said.

Gendron entered the store a few hours later in the evening and appeared to be harassing customers, she said. Teague asked him to leave, and he did so without argument.

The next time Teague saw him, she was in the middle of the mass shooting at her store. She had fled Tops’ rear reception door when she saw Gendron.

“I see him with his gear and his gun and everything was strapped on,” Teague said. “And he shot a man who was already, I don’t know if the man moved. He must have shot him again.”

Gendron wore tactical gear that included a helmet, suit, and body armor that protected him from return fire from a guard.

A first hearing for Gendron’s anticipated plea change was canceled because of the storm, which dropped several feet of snow on parts of western New York.

Gendron was initially charged on a 25-count indictment with committing a “domestic hate-motivated act of terrorism,” along with 10 counts of first-degree murder, 10 counts of second-degree murder as hate crimes, three counts of attempted murder as hate crimes and one count of criminal weapons possession .

Gendron was the first defendant to be charged with hate-motivated domestic terrorism under the state’s relatively new law, passed by then-Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2020. It followed the Walmart shooting in El Paso, which targeted Latinos. The law is named after Josef Neumann, who was stabbed to death in a rabbi’s home during Hanukkah 2020.

“These charges have only one penalty if the defendant of these charges is found guilty — life in prison without parole,” Flynn said at the time the charges were unsealed.

Flynn paid tribute to security guard Aaron Salter, a retired Buffalo police officer, who shot Gendron with a 9mm handgun, giving shoppers time to flee.

Gendron will be sentenced in court on February 15.

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https://6abc.com/buffalo-shooting-tops-supermarket-racist/12503294/ Buffalo Shooting: Shooter pleads guilty to domestic terrorism motivated by hate, murder will receive life sentence

Alley Einstein

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