Grand Jury Indicts Accused Buffalo Shooter Payton Gendron On First Degree Murder Charge

Written by on May 20, 2022


Payton Gendron, the 18-year-old white man accused of killing 10 people—most of whom were Black—at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, last week, appeared briefly in court on Thursday after a grand jury indicted him on a charge of first-degree murder.

Payton Gendron is led into the courtroom for a hearing at Erie County Court on Thursday.


Key Facts

Assistant District Attorney Gary Hackbush said on Thursday an Erie County grand jury had voted on Wednesday to indict Gendron, who allegedly traveled three hours from his home in Conklin, New York, to target Black residents at Tops supermarket.

Gendron—who has pleaded not guilty—remained silent throughout the hearing at the Erie County Courthouse and was sent back to jail after the proceeding.

As Gendron was led out of the hearing—which was attended by some relatives of the grocery store shooting victims—someone yelled, “Payton you’re a coward!” according to the Washington Post.

Key Background

Gendron allegedly shot 13 people and killed 10 at a Tops Friendly Market store last week in an attack officials are investigating as a hate crime and an act of racially motivated extremism. Gendron—who livestreamed the shooting from a helmet camera—posted a 180-page racist diatribe online in which he wrote about how he viewed Black people as “replacers” of whites, a version of a false narrative commonly known as the “great replacement theory.” Social media posts shared by Gendron suggest he had been planning the attack for months. Thursday marked the second court appearance for Gendron after he pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges last week. The grand jury first-degree murder charge covers all 10 deaths at the supermarket, according to the Associated Press. Prosecutors are only allowed to bring charges of first-degree murder under specific circumstances, including when two or more people are killed in a single event, according to the outlet. Gendron is set to appear back in court on June 9.

What To Watch For

Additional charges. Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said before the Thursday hearing more could be filed after a grand jury investigates the shooting, according to NPR. Authorities are also considering terrorism charges as they investigate the attack as a racially motivated hate crime.

Further Reading

Grand jury indicts man in Buffalo supermarket shooting (AP)

Buffalo prosecutors get more time to build their case against a mass shooting suspect (NPR)

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