A group prays in the street on Sunday near the site of the mass shooting on Saturday at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo
A White gunman who killed nearly a dozen Black shoppers in a racist mass shooting attack at a Buffalo supermarket last month was indicted Wednesday on federal hate crimes charges, which would qualify him for the death penalty.
The Justice Department announced the charges against 18-year-old Payton Gendron, which include 26 counts of hate crimes related to the 10 people he killed at the Tops supermarket on May 14.
The federal complaint was filed in the Western District of New York. It says that Gendron’s goal was to “kill as many Black people as possible.”
The charging document says that Gendron had wanted to “prevent Black people from replacing White people and eliminating the White race.” It notes that there’s probable cause to believe that the shooter committed the killings with malice aforethought, which qualifies them as hate crimes.
After the shooting, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul asked New York Attorney General Letitia James to investigate social media platforms that sought to give credibility to the far-right “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory.
In the months before the attack, police say Gendron wrote a manifesto that detailed a plan to assault Black people at the Tops grocery store.
If he’s convicted on the federal charges, Gendron could face the death penalty — although that’s extremely unlikely in New York, which hasn’t executed an inmate in nearly 70 years. Further, the federal government has reimposed a moratorium on executions after they resumed under President Donald Trump.
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Miguel Cerrillo is the father of Miah Cerrillo, a fourth-grade student who survived the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Miah also testified to the House committee at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Pool Photo by Jason Andrew/UPI | License Photo
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