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Accused Buffalo shooter Payton Gendron charged with federal hate crimes

The white gunman who killed 10 black people in a racist attack at a Buffalo supermarket has been charged with federal hate crimes, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday.

Payton Gendron had already faced a mandatory life sentence without parole if convicted on previously filed state charges in the May 14 bloodbath that also left three survivors — one black, two white — with gunshot wounds.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland was in Buffalo on Wednesday to visit with the families of those killed.

Gendron is already facing up to life in prison if convicted on state charges in the rampage.

Gendron’s radical, racist worldview and extensive preparation for the Tops Friendly Market attack are laid out in documents he apparently authored and posted online shortly before the attack.

Ten black people were killed in the shooting at Tops last month.
President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visit the scene of the shooting on May 17.
President Biden and first lady Jill Biden visit the scene of the shooting on May 17.

The documents embrace a baseless conspiracy theory about a plot to diminish white Americans’ power and “replace” them with people of color, through immigration and other means.

The posts detail months of reconnaissance, demographic research and shooting practice for a massacre aimed at scaring everyone who isn’t white and Christian into leaving the country.

Gendron drove more than 200 miles from his home in a nearly all-white town near the New York-Pennsylvania border to a predominantly black part of Buffalo. There, authorities say, he mowed down shoppers and workers using an AR-15-style rifle, wearing body armor to protect himself and livestreaming the carnage from a helmet-mounted camera.

Gendron – who surrendered himself to police – is facing life in prison.
Gendron, who surrendered to police, is facing life in prison.
A mourner visits a makeshift memorial near the scene of the shooting.
A mourner visits a makeshift memorial near the scene of the shooting.

The 18-year-old surrendered to police as he exited the supermarket.

He has pleaded not guilty to a state domestic terrorism charge, including hate-motivated domestic terrorism and murder.

According to the online documents attributed to Gendron, he had scouted out the supermarket in March, drawing maps and even counting the number of black people he saw there.

The ten victims of the May 14 shooting.
The 10 victims of the May 14 shooting.

Federal authorities had said they were considering hate crime charges in the killings, which compounded the unabating toll of gun violence in the United States.

Ten days after the attack in Buffalo, another 18-year-old with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school, killing 19 children and two teachers.

Soon after, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed 10 public safety-related bills, including one prohibiting New Yorkers under age 21 from buying semi-automatic rifles and another that revised the state’s “red flag” law, which allows courts to temporarily take away guns from people who might be a threat to themselves or others.

Gendron had pled not guilty to a state domestic terrorism charge.
Gendron had pleaded not guilty to a state domestic terrorism charge.
James Keivom

The US Senate followed on June 12 with a bipartisan agreement on more modest federal gun curbs and stepped-up efforts to improve school safety and mental health programs.

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