Warning: Video contains explicit language, viewer discretion is advised.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A person lunged at Tops mass shooter Payton Gendron during victim impact statements while he was being sentenced on state charges.
While Katherine Massey’s sister Barbara Mapps was speaking, a man came in behind her and ran at Gendron. Mapps was giving an emotional statement, yelling and using explicit language toward Gendron while talking about her sister, who was one of 10 people killed during the mass shooting at the Tops on Jefferson Avenue on May 14. Barbara Mapps was the 6th of 17 people expected to speak at Wednesday’s hearing. 13 ended up speaking in total.
The man did not make it to Gendron — he was stopped by several officers before he could get there. Gendron was immediately removed from the courtroom and Judge Susan Eagan also left the courtroom. Gendron’s attorneys left the courtroom a short time later.
Court resumed after an approximate 10 minute delay.
“I understand that emotion and I understand that anger, but we cannot have that in the courtroom,” Judge Eagan said as proceedings resumed. “I am prepared to give anyone that needs to speak an opportunity to speak and I know that you need to address some of your comments to the defendant, but we must conduct ourselves appropriately, because we are all better than that.”
After the proceedings ended, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said that the man who lunged at Gendron will not be charged.
According to News 4’s Chris Horvatits, court house staff said the man punched a hole in the wall after the incident.
“People have punched holes in walls before,” Flynn said. “We can fix it.”
Shortly before the incident, Gendron was seen crying during the impact statements.
Gendron was sentenced to life in prison without parole on state charges related to the attack, including domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate as well as 10 counts of first degree murder.
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Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.