Suspect in Buffalo mass shooting set to be arraigned on 25 counts in ‘terrorism’ case

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

(BUFFALO, N.Y.) — The white teenager who allegedly killed 10 Black people in a Buffalo, New York, supermarket last month in what authorities described as a racially motivated attack is expected to be arraigned on Thursday.

Payton Gendron, 18, is set to appear in Erie County Court in Buffalo Thursday afternoon.

A grand jury returned a 25-count indictment against Gendron, including 10 counts of first-degree murder, 10 counts of second-degree murder as a hate crime, three counts of attempted murder as a hate crime and one count of criminal possession of a weapon.

The indictment accuses Gendron of carrying out a “domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate,” according to a copy obtained by Buffalo ABC affiliate WKBW.

Gendron is accused of fatally shooting the six women and four men inside a Tops supermarket on May 14 “because of the perceived race and/or color” of the victims, according to the indictment. He also allegedly shot and wounded three people.

He is expected to enter a plea to the charges during Thursday’s hearing.

The FBI is also conducting a parallel investigation, which the Department of Justice said could lead to federal hate crime and terrorism charges.

During Gendron’s last court appearance on May 19, he was led into the courtroom in chains on his legs and hands and surrounded by numerous court officers. He appeared to be wearing a bulletproof vest under his jumpsuit.

Loved ones of some of the victims killed in the attack attended the previous hearing, and one yelled out “Payton, you’re a coward” as Gendron was being led out of the courtroom.

Gendron was initially charged with one count of murder a day after the massacre at a Tops Friendly Market. He pleaded not guilty and was ordered to be held without bail.

Investigators allege Gendron drove three hours from his home in Conklin, New York, and spent the day before the rampage conducting a final reconnaissance on the store before committing the mass shooting on a Saturday afternoon.

Authorities allege Gendron was wielding an AR-15-style rifle, dressed in military fatigues, body armor and wearing a tactical helmet with a camera attached when he stormed the store around 2:30 p.m., shooting four people outside the business and nine others inside. Police said the suspect fired a barrage of 50 shots during the massacre.

Gendron allegedly livestreamed the attack on the gaming website Twitch before the company took down the live feed two minutes into the shooting.

Among those killed was 55-year-old Aaron Salter Jr., a retired Buffalo police officer who was working as a security guard at the supermarket. Authorities said Salter fired at the gunman, but the bullets had no effect due to the bulletproof vest the suspect wore.

Buffalo police officers arrived at the store one minute after getting the first calls for an active shooter and confronted the suspect, who responded by placing the barrel of the rifle to his chin and threatening to kill himself, police officials said. Officers de-escalated the situation and talked Gendron into surrendering, according to authorities.

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