Payton Gendron charged with hate-fueled domestic terrorism for Buffalo shooting that killed 10

Teen has pleaded not guilty

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Wednesday 01 June 2022 20:20
New York governor: Buffalo shooting was 'act of terrorism'
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A white 18-year-old accused of fatally shooting 10 Black shoppers at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket this month has been charged with domestic terrorism motivated by hate.

A grand jury decided on the charges, which also include 10 counts of first-degree murder, on Wednesday.

Payton Gendron has pleaded not guilty.

Payton S Gendron appears in court on 9 May, 2022

The 18-year-old could also face separate hate crime charges.

Mr Gendron is believed to written hundreds of pages online filled with racist conspiracy theories about his intentions to kill Black people, and had a racial epithet written on the assault rifle he allegedly used in the shooting.

He drove nearly three hours from his hometown of Conklin, New York, to Buffalo in an attempt to strike an area with predominantly people of colour, according to officials.

The teen’s attorney, Brian Parker, told the Associated Press he had been barred by a judge from discussing the case publicly.

Officials and community members have been calling for harsh charges against Mr Gendron since the 14 May shooting.

“This was pure evil,” Erie County sheriff John Garcia said after the massacre. “It was straight up racially motivated hate crime from somebody outside of our community.”

The court case is one part of the larger conversation about stopping gun violence and racism that the shooting has provoked.

In 2021, Mr Gendron was taken into custody by state police and held for a mental health evaluation after school officials became concerned when he wrote his retirement plans were “murder-suicide.”

The teen was still able to legally buy the AR-15-style assault rifle he used in the shooting, the same weapon used in the Uvalde, Texas, mass school shooting a week later.

He became increasingly radicalised as he spent time on notorious online messageboard 4chan during Covid lockdowns, where he read about enamoured with racist conspiracy theories like “great replacement.”

The shooting has inspired heavy criticism of Fox News and other conservates who have repeated nearly identical “replacement” theories to mass audiences.

A recent New York Times analysis found that host Tucker Carlson mentioned some version of the theory at least 400 times on his show, sometimes explicitly. (“In political terms, this policy is called ‘the great replacement,’ the replacement of legacy Americans with more obedient people from faraway countries,” the anchor told one guest last September.)

This week, New York Governor Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders agreed on a suite of new gun control legislation that would require people to turn 21 and obtain a gun license before buying an assault rifle.

Such measures have proved illusive in other states reeling from tragedy like Texas, as well as at the federal level, even though numerous Uvalde families are calling for AR-15 regulation.

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