Self-described racist and white supremacist Payton Gendron was harassed and branded a “coward” in court on Thursday morning when he was indicted by a grand jury in the mass murder of 10 black people.
Payton Gendron, 18, appeared at the Erie County Courthouse for a first-degree murder hearing attended by the devastated family members of some of his victims.
When he was escorted out of court after the brief hearing, one of the relatives shouted at him, “Payton, you’re a coward.”
Mr Gendron has so far been charged with first-degree murder for carrying out the deadliest mass shooting in 2022, which local officials have described as an act of “pure evil”.
He pleaded not guilty to his charges Saturday night – just hours after live-streaming the attack on a predominantly black community in upstate New York.
During Wednesday’s brief hearing, Mr Gendron – who spat his hatred of minorities online – remained silent as Erie County Assistant District Attorney Gary Hackbush said the charges had been passed.
Mr Gendron, dressed in orange prison scrubs and a white face mask, was then taken back to prison flanked by several police officers.
Mr. Gendron is accused of driving about three hours from his home in Conklin to the Tops Friendly Market grocery store in Buffalo on Saturday afternoon, dressed in tactical gear and armed with an assault rifle.
The shooter first opened fire outside the store before proceeding through the supermarket aisles, aiming at innocent shoppers.
Ten people were killed in the attack and three others were shot but survived.
Eleven of the 13 victims were black, including all 10 who died, and they ranged in age from 20 to 86 years.
Among those killed was a former police officer-turned-store security guard who died trying to stop the gunman.
Mr Gendron was taken into custody at the scene and made “disturbing statements” about his motive, making it clear that he was “full of hatred for the black community” and officials said he was targeting black people.
The gun used in the attack had the N-word and the number 14 written on it – an obvious reference to a conspiracy theory.
According to an online manifesto apparently released by the shooter, Mr Gendron called himself a racist, white supremacist and anti-Semite and detailed how he had been inspired by other white supremacist mass shooters.
He also cited the debunked “grand replacement theory” repeatedly promoted by right-wing figures like Fox News’ Tucker Carlson — an extremist conspiracy theory that falsely claims there is a conspiracy to reduce white influence.
As the tight-knit community is rocked by the attack and the loss of loved ones, more shocking new details about the teenage gunman have also come to light.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said there was evidence Mr Gendron planned to continue the mass shooting in at least one other location in the community.
He had planned to leave the Tops store and go to “another big supermarket” to continue shooting at innocent people, but was arrested before he could leave the grocery store.
Officials have also learned that Mr Gendron planned the attack several months ago and visited the store two months earlier to investigate.
Investigators believe he targeted the community three hours from his home because it is predominantly black.
Questions are also mounting about how he obtained a gun after it was revealed he previously threatened a mass shooting at his school.
Last June, police were called to the school over the incident and he was sent for a mental health evaluation.
However, he bought the gun legally – before allegedly modifying it.
More charges are expected to be brought against Mr. Gendron and the US Department of Justice is also investigating the shooting as a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism and terrorism.
If convicted of first-degree murder in New York, he faces the maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
He faces the death penalty if charged and convicted on federal charges.
He is currently being held on suicide watch in the custody of the Erie County Sheriff.
The massacre has reignited calls for stricter US gun control and a crackdown on hate crime and domestic terrorism, as well as tougher regulations on social media platforms, which the shooter used to stream the mass shooting and share his racist beliefs online .
Discord confirmed that just 30 minutes before the attack began, Mr Gendron had shared his private diary detailing his plan and motives with a group on his chat platform.
President Joe Biden visited Buffalo this week, where he pledged to expose those who promote the “poison” of white supremacy.
“Now is the time for people of all races and backgrounds to speak up as a majority … and reject white supremacy,” he said.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/crime/buffalo-shooting-payton-gendron-court-indictment-b2082798.html Buffalo gunman Payton Gendron fumed as the grand jury indicted him for mass shooting