Payton Gendron pleads guilty to the mass murder of 10 mostly Black people in a Buffalo supermarket

Payton Gendron on Wednesday pleaded guilty to the mass murders of 10 mostly Black people during a shooting spree in and around Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, New York.

Gendron was indicted on 25 counts, including murder and domestic terrorism motivated by hate. All the charges were state charges. He will face life in prison without parole. 

He will also face federal hate crime charges, which could mean he would be put to death. Merrick Garland,  the U.S. Attorney General, will decide later whether to seek the death penalty.

The sentencing hearing was disrupted briefly when Gendron was charged by a man in the audience, who was quickly restrained. 

“You are a cowardly racist,†said Simone Crawley, whose grandmother Ruth Whitfield, 86, was killed in the shooting. 

She asked for accountability for others who aided or turned a blind eye to Mr. Gendron’s growing radicalization.

“You recorded the last moments of our loved ones’ lives to garner support for your hateful cause, but you immortalized them instead,†Ms. Crawley continued. “We are extremely aware that you are not a lone wolf, but a part of a larger organized network of domestic terrorists. And to that network, we say we, as a people, are unbreakable.â€

Judge Susan Eagan had the last word. 

“There is no place for you or your ignorant, hateful, and evil ideologies in a civilized society.” She said further, “There can be no mercy for you, no understanding, no second chances.”

In July, a federal grand jury indicted him on 14 federal hate crimes and 13 firearms charges, leaving Gendron to face the death penalty.

Upon conviction, the charges in the indictment carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment or the death penalty. 

The shooting occurred on May 14, 2022, at approximately 2:30 p.m. at Tops Friendly Market on 1275 Jefferson Avenue.

Gendron, who is 19, took a semiautomatic rifle with “Here are your Reparations,†printed on the gun’s barrel. He wore body armor to carry out the massacre of people who were going shopping.

Gendron, who lived in Conklin, New York, drove three hours to Buffalo, having targeted an area of the city where many Blacks lived.

He wore a helmet and live-steamed the massacre to encourage others to act similarly.

In court, Gendron, who was handcuffed and wore an orange jumpsuit, showed little emotion through the 45-minute proceeding when he was sentenced. He later apologized.