Buffalo shooting suspect charged with domestic terrorism and hate crime

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The white man accused of killing 10 people at a Buffalo grocery store on May 14 was charged Wednesday with 25 counts, including domestic terrorism and murder as a hate crime, authorities said.

The grand jury indictment came more than two weeks after police said 18-year-old Payton Gendron drove into a Tops Friendly Markets store in a Buffalo neighborhood and shot dead 13 people, including 11 black. Prior to the rampage, investigators say, Gendron had said he subscribed to a racist ideology called the “great replacement” theory.

In a rambling 180-page document shared online, Gendron declared himself a white supremacist, called his plan for terrorism a rampage and expressed a desire for him to incite more violence.

Buffalo shooting victims

After the attack, which he broadcast live, the gunman turned himself in, police said, and was charged with first-degree murder. The suspect pleaded not guilty.

Authorities said a grand jury investigation was underway and the shooting appeared to be a racially fueled hate crime. Federal authorities are also investigating the shooting as a hate crime and have not filed charges.

A grand jury considering the case against Gendron returned one count of hate-motivated domestic terrorism, 10 counts of first-degree murder as a hate crime, 10 counts of second-degree murder as a hate crime, three counts of attempted murder in second degree as a hate crime and a count of second degree criminal possession of a weapon.

If convicted of hate-motivated domestic terrorism, Gendron faces an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole.

Gendron is expected to be arraigned Thursday afternoon. His attorney, Daniel Dubois, and John Flynn, the Erie County prosecutor, declined to comment before the court appearance.

The shooting rocked Buffalo and reverberated across the country, the latest in a string of attacks in which officials said suspected or convicted gunmen were motivated by bigotry. When President Biden spoke in Buffalo three days after the killings, he invoked the sites of some of these other massacres, including El Paso, Pittsburgh and Charleston, SC Ten days after the Buffalo massacre, a gunman killed shooting 19 students and two teachers at a Texas elementary school.

After the Buffalo shooting, details emerged suggesting extensive planning before Gendron drove about three hours from his home in Conklin, NY, to Buffalo, investigators said. The Washington Post reviewed hundreds of pages of posts posted online by a writer who identified himself as Gendron, and they included details of plans to kill black people.

These posts also included mentions of a decision in February to target Tops Grocery in Buffalo due to the community’s large black population; a March trip to the store to assess its safety; and plans to attack other locations nearby.

Biden attacks bigotry after Buffalo attack, says ‘white supremacy is poison’

Buffalo police said Gendron was in the city in March. They also said investigators believe he planned to continue killing black people after the grocery store attack.

Gendron hid his plans from his family, he writes, hoarding weapons and equipment he hid. During the attack, Gendron was wearing tactical gear and brandishing an assault weapon that appeared to display a racial slur.

Shortly before the shoot, he sent out an invitation for Discord users to join a chat room to view the live stream. Fifteen people accepted the invitation.

Buffalo residents are still in shock after a gunman launched a racially charged attack at a grocery store, killing 10 people. (Video: Zoeann Murphy/The Washington Post)

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