Payton Gendron, the 19-year-old charged with fatally shooting ten Black people in a Buffalo grocery store shooting earlier this year, entered a guilty plea Monday to 25 charges brought against him by New York State, including domestic terrorism.
Gendron pleaded guilty to ten counts of first-degree murder, ten counts of second-degree murder as a hate crime and a count of domestic terrorism motivated by hate, according to court records.
The domestic terrorism count carries a mandatory life sentence without parole, and Gendron’s sentencing has been scheduled for February 2023.
Gendron was first person to ever be charged with domestic terrorism motivated by hate in New York since the state statute was introduced in 2020 following a 2019 shooting in El Paso, Texas, that targeted Latinos.
Gendron previously pleaded not guilty to separate federal charges.
Authorities say Gendron entered a Buffalo supermarket May 14 with a semi-automatic rifle and opened fire, hitting 13 people, most of whom were Black. Only 3 survived. Before the attack, Gendron allegedly posted a 180-page racist manifesto touting the far-right theory claiming Black people are replacing the white race. Gendron sought out the grocery store in the predominantly Black Buffalo neighborhood to “prevent Black people from replacing white people and eliminating the white race,” and in hopes of inspiring similar attacks, federal prosecutors said.
Gendron was radicalized and indoctrinated by content he consumed online, New York Attorney General Letitia James said. An investigation by the AG’s office into the shooting found the supermarket massacre was just one of an “epidemic of mass shootings” carried out by young men “radicalized online by an ideology of hate.” Some lawmakers have pressured social media platforms like Twitter and YouTube to establish stronger guidelines to combat hate speech and violent content.
Buffalo Gunman Pleads Guilty to All Charges in Racist Attack (The New York Times)