BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Federal charges are being filed against the 18-year-old accused of fatally shooting 10 people at the Tops store on Jefferson Avenue.
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York has filed a 26-count criminal complaint against Payton Gendron. Here are the charges:
- hate crime resulting in death (10 counts)
- hate crime involving bodily injury and attempt to kill (3 counts)
- use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence (10 counts)
- use and discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence (3 counts)
If convicted of the federal charges of use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence, the alleged shooter could face the death penalty.
In the criminal complaint, federal officials allege that his motive was to “prevent Black people from replacing white people and eliminating the white race, and to inspire others to commit similar attacks.” He was accused of firing approximately 60 shots, based on ballistic evidence, the complaint says.
“After Gendron killed Victim 7, he turned and aimed his rifle at a white male Tops employee (‘Victim 8’), who, at some point during the attack, had been shot in the leg and injured. Rather than shooting him, Gendron said, ‘Sorry,’ to Victim 8, before moving on through the rest of the store in search of more Black people to shoot and kill,” the complaint read.
On the rifle used in the crime, federal officials say there were writings, including racial slurs and names of others who have committed mass shootings. Along with that, it is alleged that “Here’s your reparations!” and ‘The Great Replacement” were written on the gun.
In his bedroom, a handwritten note where he apologized to his family for committing the attack, which he allegedly stated he “had to commit,” was found during a search of his home, federal officials allege. Also found was a receipt for the purchase of a candy bar at the Tops store on March 8 and handwritten sketches of what appeared to be the interior layout of the store.
Previously, the accused shooter was already indicted on 25 other counts:
- Domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate in the first degree
- Murder in the first degree (10 counts)
- Murder in the second degree, as a hate crime (10 counts)
- Attempted murder in the second degree, as a hate crime (3 counts)
- Criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, an armed felony
No one in New York had ever previously been indicted on a charge of domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate in the first degree. That indictment can be read here.
On Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland came to Buffalo to pay respects at the site of the mass shooting on Buffalo’s east side. He and U.S. Attorney Trini Ross met with the families of the victims, as well.
(U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and U.S. Attorney Trini Ross spoke on the charges during Garland’s time in Buffalo on Wednesday. Watch the conference in the video above.)
On Thursday morning, the suspect appeared in court.
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Chris Horvatits is an award-winning reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2017. See more of his work here.