Crime

Buffalo Gunman Pleads Guilty In Racist Supermarket Massacre

He pleaded guilty to all the charges in the grand jury indictment, including murder, murder as a hate crime and hate-motivated domestic terrorism.

A crowd gathers as police investigate after a shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.
Joshua Bessex / AP
SMS

The White gunman who massacred 10 Black shoppers and workers at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket pleaded guilty Monday to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges, guaranteeing that he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Payton Gendron, 19, entered the plea Monday in a courthouse roughly two miles from the grocery store where he used a semiautomatic rifle and body armor to carry out a racist assault he hoped would help preserve White power in the U.S.

He pleaded guilty to all the charges in the grand jury indictment, including murder, murder as a hate crime and hate-motivated domestic terrorism, which carries an automatic sentence of life without parole. The shooter also pleaded guilty to wounding three people who survived the May attack.

Police: Buffalo Gunman Aimed To Keep Killing If He Got Away

Police: Buffalo Gunman Aimed To Keep Killing If He Got Away

The gunman had talked about shooting up another store as well.

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The plea comes at a time when many Americans have become nearly desensitized to mass shootings. In recent weeks, there have been deadly attacks at a Walmart in Virginia, at a gay club in Colorado and at the University of Virginia.

Just days after the gunman's rampage in Buffalo, a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at a school in Uvalde, Texas.

The shooter in the Buffalo case previously pleaded not guilty to separate federal hate crime charges that could result in a death sentence if he is convicted. The U.S. Justice Department has not said whether it will seek capital punishment.

The gunman used a legally purchased AR-15-style rifle in his attack on the Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo. Wearing body armor, he livestreamed from a helmet camera as he shot store employees and shoppers.

Those killed ranged in age from 32 to 86 and included an armed security guard died trying to protect customers, a church deacon and the mother of a former Buffalo fire commissioner.

White supremacy was the shooter's motive. He said in documents posted online just before the attack that he'd picked the store, about a three-hour drive from his home in Conklin, New York, because it was in a predominantly Black neighborhood.

He said he was motivated by a belief in a massive conspiracy to dilute the power of White people by "replacing" them in the U.S. with people of color.

The gunman surrendered after police confronted him as he emerged from the store.

Relatives of the victims have since called on Congress to address White supremacy and gun violence through legislation.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.