BUFFALO, New York – Payton Hendron pleaded guilty Monday to the racist murders of 10 black people at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo.

Featured video from previous coverage

Gendron pleaded guilty to 15 charges, including domestic terrorism motivated by hatred, murder and attempted murder. He still faces more than two dozen federal charges, some of which carry the death penalty.

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said Gendron “planned and carried out a racially motivated attack” fueled by an ideology of white supremacy that specifically targeted black people.

Flynn said Hendron illegally modified his gun and practiced shooting at state parks in Broome County.

Gendron drove more than three hours from his home near Binghamton, New York, to carry out the shooting in the predominantly black East Buffalo neighborhood after a social media post about a racist replacement conspiracy theory.

The attack was captured by a Tops supermarket surveillance camera and by a helmet camera worn by Hendron, which he used to stream on Twitch.

The 180-page document, believed to have been posted online by the suspect, is a hate-filled tirade centered on the notion of “replacement theory,” the white supremacist belief that non-whites will eventually replace white people because they are of superior ancestry. rates, authorities said. According to Flynn, the document also included the names of past shooters he admired.

Seanelle Harris Teague, Tops operations manager, said she saw Gendron sitting on a bench outside her Tops store the day before the shooting. According to her, he sat near the store for several hours in the same camouflage clothing with a bag on his back.

“He was wearing the same clothes, but he had camper gear on his back, like he was asking people for change,” Teague said.

Hendron entered the store a few hours later in the evening and appeared to be bothering customers, she said. Teague asked him to leave and he did so without argument.

The next time Teague saw him was in the midst of a mass shooting at her store. She ran out the back door of Tops’ reception room when she saw Hendran.

“I see him with the gear and the gun and how it was all tied up,” Teague said. “And he shot the man who was already, I don’t know if the man was moving. He must have shot him again.”

Hendron was wearing tactical gear, which included a helmet, uniform and body armor, which protected him from the guard’s return fire.

An initial hearing on Hendron’s proposed change of plea was canceled because of the storm, which dropped several feet of snow on parts of western New York.

Hendran was initially charged with 25 counts of “domestic hate crime,” along with ten counts of first-degree murder, ten counts of second-degree hate crime murder, three counts of attempted hate crime and one a charge of possession of a weapon.

Gendron became the first defendant to be charged under the state’s relatively new domestic hate terrorism law, which was passed in 2020 by then-Governor Andrew Cuomo. This comes after a shooting at a Walmart in El Paso that targeted Latinos. The statute is named after Joseph Neumann, who was beaten to death in a rabbi’s home during Hanukkah 2020.

“This charge carries only one sentence if the defendant is convicted – life in prison without parole,” Flynn said at the time the indictment was unsealed.

Flynn thanked the security guard, Aaron Salter, a retired Buffalo police officer, who shot Gendron with a 9 mm handgun, giving the store patrons time to escape.

Gendron’s sentence will be announced in court on February 15.

Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All rights reserved.

Source link