By CAROLYN THOMPSON
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The white man who opened fire on Black people at a Buffalo supermarket, killing 10, is due in federal court Thursday, a day after Attorney General Merrick Garland met with the victims’ families and announced hate crime charges that could bring the death penalty.
Payton Gendron, 18, has been held without bail since his arrest shortly after the May 14 attack at a Tops Friendly Supermarket, which also left three people wounded.
He is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court on a criminal complaint charging him with 10 counts each of hate crime resulting in death and using a firearm to commit murder. The complaint also includes three counts each of hate crime involving bodily injury and attempt to kill, and using a firearm in a violent crime.
The federal hate crimes case is based partly on documents in which Gendron detailed his plans for the attack, including the semi-automatic rifle he would use, clothing and body armor he would wear and the portable camera that would allow him to stream the massacre live on the internet.
The writings included “statements that his motivation for the attack was to prevent Black people from replacing white people and eliminating the white race, and to inspire others to commit similar racially-motivated attacks,” according to the complaint.
Garland, who halted federal executions last year, has not ruled out seeking the death penalty against Gendron.
Gendron was already facing a mandatory life sentence without parole if convicted on previously filed state charges, including hate-motivated domestic terrorism and murder. He has pleaded not guilty.
Gendron’s attorney, Brian Parker, declined to comment on the new charges, citing a judge’s gag order.
Gendron drove more than 200 miles (320 kilometers) from his home in Conklin to a predominantly Black part of Buffalo. There, authorities say, he fired approximately 60 shots at shoppers and workers.
The complaint details his path through the store’s aisles in search of victims as customers and employees ran to take cover in a stock room, conference room, freezer and dairy cooler.
Gendron surrendered to police as he exited the supermarket.