BUFFALO, NY (AP) – The white man accused of killing 10 blacks in a Buffalo supermarket appeared in court on Thursday, in silence during a brief trial attended by some relatives of the victims after a grand jury charged him.
Payton Gendron, 18, was wearing an orange prison uniform, a mask and handcuffs. As they were leaving, someone shouted “Payton, you’re a coward!” from the living room gallery. He is being held in prison without bail.
Assistant Prosecutor Gary Hackbush said the first-degree murder charge, which covers 10 deaths, was handed down on Wednesday.
Thirteen people in all were shot dead Saturday at Tops Friendly Market in a predominantly black Buffalo neighborhood. Authorities are continuing to investigate possible hate crimes and terrorism charges.
District Attorney John Flynn said his office would not comment on the case while the grand jury’s investigation continues.
Gendron’s lawyers also declined to comment, according to defense attorney Daniel DuBois.
Relatives of the victims who had come to the scene left without speaking immediately to reporters.
Gendron, 18, broadcast the attack live from a helmet camera before handing himself over to police outside the supermarket. Shortly before the attack, he posted hundreds of pages of writings in online discussion groups detailing his plans for the assault and his racist motivation.
Investigators were examining those documents, which included a private diary he kept on the Discord chat platform.
In his initial court appearance last week, Gendron’s lawyer pleaded “not guilty” on his behalf. He is due to return to court on June 9.
Five days after the shooting, officials announced Thursday that the collection of evidence at the supermarket has been completed. Tops Market President John Persons promised to open the store as soon as possible, but said he could not give a timeline.
The massacre at the Tops supermarket was unsettling even in a nation that has become almost dormant in the face of mass shootings. All but two of the 13 people shot during the attack were black. Gendron’s online writings said he planned the assault after falling in love with the white supremacist ideology he found online.
Stephen Belongia, the FBI’s chief agent in Buffalo, said officers were still working to reconcile Gendron’s motives and how he came to his extremist views.
“An important part of such incidents is to tell the whole story that may not be heard in court at a later date, to understand, as far as possible, what are the motives of this gunman, as he radicalized., What he was reading, where he was reading it, who he was inspired by, “Belongia told a news conference.
The newspaper says Gendron planned his attack secretly, without outside help, but Discord confirmed on Wednesday that an invitation had been sent to access his private writings to a small group of people about 30 minutes before the assault began.
Some of them accepted the invitation. It was unclear how many read what he had written or logged on to watch the assault live. It was also unclear if anyone tried to alert law enforcement.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday authorized state Attorney General Letitia James to investigate the social media platforms used by Gendron to determine whether they were responsible for “providing a platform to plan and promote violence.”
In Buffalo on Thursday, police commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said social media users can also play a role in talking when they see people posting violent or threatening content.
“You need to get these people out,” he said at a briefing. “Expose those who are exposing such extreme opinions and allow us to eliminate them.”
The grand jury charges a man with a shooting at a Buffalo supermarket
Source link The grand jury charges a man with a shooting at a Buffalo supermarket