Buffalo Gunman Pleads Guilty to All Charges in Racist Attack
The gunman who was accused of killing 10 Black people in a racist massacre at a Buffalo supermarket in May pleaded guilty to all state charges against him in Erie County Court on Monday morning.
Payton Gendron, 19, who was arrested shortly after the shooting, was indicted by a grand jury in June on 25 counts, including murder, domestic terrorism and other charges in relation to the massacre. Two victims’ relatives said on Thursday that he was expected to plead guilty to his charges this week.
The state charges included 10 counts of first-degree murder, 10 counts of second-degree murder as a hate crime and a single count of domestic terrorism motivated by hate, which carries a penalty of life imprisonment without parole.
He still faces federal hate crimes and weapons violations, and some of those charges could carry the death penalty if the Justice Department decides to seek it. Although there is now a moratorium on federal executions, Attorney General Merrick Garland did not rule out the possibility of seeking the death penalty when Mr. Gendron’s charges were announced in June.
Months before the massacre, Mr. Gendron began writing about his plans for an attack in Buffalo in a private diary on the messaging site Discord. In May, Mr. Gendron, who was 18 at the time, traveled about 200 miles to East Buffalo from his home in the Southern Tier town of Conklin, N.Y., to carry out the attack.
In the abundant online writings he left behind, Mr. Gendron, an avowed white supremacist, said that he had chosen that area of Buffalo for its large population of Black residents. His online posts were filled with racist writings.
The 13 people who were shot, three of whom survived, were almost all Black.
According to authorities, Mr. Gendron, who livestreamed the attack, used a Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle that was purchased legally at a store near his hometown during the attack and wore camouflage and body armor.
In the aftermath of the Buffalo attack, and the massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, lawmakers in Albany passed a broad package of gun bills that raised the minimum age to buy a semiautomatic rifle to 21 and banned most civilians from purchasing bullet-resistant body vests.
Jesse McKinley contributed reporting.