Washington – The Justice Department has filed multiple federal hate crimes charges against alleged Buffalo mass shooter Payton Gendron.
Prosecutors in the Western District of New York charged the 18-year-old White man with 26 counts of hate crimes and firearms offenses, some of which carry the possibility of the death penalty.
According to the criminal complaint “Gendron” was motivated by the mass shooting to stop Black people replacing and eliminating whites and inspire other people to do the same. “
He’s being charged with 10 counts of hate crime resulting in death, three counts involving bodily injury and attempt to kill, 10 counts of use of a firearm to commit murder and in retaliation to a crime of violence and three counts of use and discharge of a firearm during and in retaliation to a crime of violence.
Just over a month after 18-year-old Gendron opened fire inside a Buffalo Tops supermarket, killing 10 and wounding three others, Attorney General Merrick Garland is traveling to the site of the massacre Wednesday to pay his respects to the victims’ families.
In the aftermath of the attack, Garland declared that the Justice Department would look into the case as hate crime and act of racially-motivated violent extremism. The suspect is accused of describing his plans for violence and the racist motives behind it in hundreds of pages that he published online just before the shooting. Authorities claim that 11 were Black individuals among the 13 who were killed.
A state grand jury earlier this month indicted the alleged shooter with charges of domestic terrorism motivated by hate and 10 counts of first-degree murder. Payton Gendron has been held in custody since May 14 and has pleaded guilty.
Garland will be traveling together with Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke and Associate Attorney General Vanita Gopta, who are part of the federal hate crimes investigation. After stopping at Tops Market, the group will meet privately with survivors and families of victims.
The attorney general will hold a press conference together with U.S. Assistant Trini Ros for the Western District of New York. Her office is federally responsible over the Buffalo region and has filed the charges Wednesday.
The Justice Department announced new programs to combat hate crimes. These initiatives include grants for state hate crime hotlines, and community-based strategies to reduce their frequency. In addition, the department appointed the anti-hate crime resources coordinator. This was tasked with helping to increase community awareness about hate crimes.