The US Department of Justice Wednesday charged Payton Gendron with hate crimes resulting in death and hate crimes involving bodily injury and attempt to kill for targeting Black people in a mass shooting at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York. He was also charged with use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence, and use and discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
Gendron opened fire at the supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood on May 14, shooting 13 people and killing 10 of them. All of the victims who died were Black.
In a press release announcing Wednesday’s charges, the DOJ stated that “the charges in the complaint carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment or the death penalty.”
US Attorney General Merrick Garland said Wednesday, “[w]e fully recognize the threat that hatred and violent extremism pose to the safety of the American people and American democracy. We will be relentless in our efforts to combat hate crimes, to support the communities terrorized by them, and to hold accountable those who perpetrate them.”
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said:
The Civil Rights Division, like the rest of the Justice Department, will not stand by idly in the fight against white supremacist-fueled violence. As the Attorney General has said, we will pursue the perpetrators of hate crimes and hold them accountable. And we will be vigilant in our quest to secure justice for the victims and their families.
Gendron is currently in custody and is also facing state criminal charges, to which he pleaded not guilty earlier this month.