According to the US Justice Department, Gendron was charged with 10 counts of a hate crime resulting in death, three counts of hate crime involving bodily injury, 10 counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a violent crime, and three counts of use and discharge of a firearm during a violent crime. The charges meet the standard to be eligible for the federal death penalty.
The complaint, which prosecutors filed in the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York says, “Gendron’s motive for the mass shooting was to prevent Black people from replacing white people and eliminating the white race, and to inspire others to commit similar attacks.”
The 18-year-old was already facing life in prison without the possibility of parole from a slew of state charges that were announced on June 1. Among those charges were 25 criminal counts, including 10 counts each of first- and second-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder as a hate crime, and one count of criminal possession of a weapon.
On May 14, Payton Gendron drove hours from his hometown in upstate New York to the Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo before using an assault rifle to kill 10 Black people and injuring several others.
According to reports, Gendron arrived at the supermarket wearing a tactical helmet, plated armor, and wielding an AR-15-style rifle. The gunman then shot four people outside the grocery store, killing three. Gendron then entered the store and exchanged fire with a retired Buffalo police officer, who later died from his injuries. Gendron shot eight more people in the grocery store, killing six of them. He then exited the grocery store and surrendered himself to the police.
Gendron allegedly used social media to not just plan the attack but also share those murderous plans with others. He wrote an online manifesto that detailed his racist ideologies about the “Great Replacement Theory,” and how he learned to modify his assault rifle by watching YouTube videos. He also live-streamed a portion of the shooting on Twitch before the platform took it down.
Details of the Justice Department’s investigation were released in an official press release, which was sent to NewsOne. It states, “Subsequent investigation determined that in the months preceding the attack, Gendron wrote a self-described manifesto containing a detailed plan to shoot and kill Black people at Tops using a Bushmaster XM-15 rifle, a diagram of the interior layout of the store, a discussion of the clothing and equipment that he would use during the attack, and statements that his motivation for the attack was to prevent Black people from replacing white people and eliminating the white race, and to inspire others to commit similar racially-motivated attacks.”
Gendron has pleaded not guilty to the state charges, including hate-motivated domestic terrorism and murder. He is currently in state custody pending state criminal charges.