Payton Gendron, the white 18-year-old accused of shooting dead 10 Black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., has been charged with 26 counts of hate crimes and firearms offenses by federal prosecutors, some of which carry the possibility of the death penalty, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday.
Gendron’s “motive for the mass shooting” was to “prevent Black people from replacing white people” and to “inspire others to commit similar attacks,” according to the criminal complaint filed by prosecutors in the Western District of New York.
The Justice Department charged Gendron with 10 counts of hate crimes resulting in death, three counts involving bodily injury and attempt to kill; 10 counts of use of a firearm to commit murder and in retaliation to a crime of violence; and three counts of use and discharge of a firearm during and in retaliation to a crime of violence.
The charges come a month after Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the Justice Department would investigate the massacre as a hate crime and “act of racially-motivated violent extremism.”
Garland is scheduled to hold a press conference with U.S. Attorney Trini Ross for the Western District of New York on Wednesday after the two visited the site of the shooting and met with survivors and relatives of those killed in the massacre.
The federal charges come two weeks after a state grand jury indicted Gendron on 25 counts, including one count of domestic terrorism motivated by hate and 10 first-degree murder counts. Authorities allege Gendron shot 13 people—11 of whom were Black and 10 of whom died—at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo last month. The victims ranged in age from 32 to 86. Police say Gendron drove more than 150 miles to Buffalo to target Black residents. Gendron—who livestreamed the attack—posted a 180-page racist diatribe online in which he expressed support for the “great replacement” conspiracy theory that Black people are replacing white people. Social media posts shared by Gendron suggest he had been planning the attack for months.
Accused Buffalo Supermarket Shooter Payton Gendron Charged With Federal Hate Crimes (Wall Street Journal)