Payton Gendron, the White man accused of killing ten Black people in a Buffalo supermarket last month, was charged Wednesday with domestic terrorism and 10 counts of first-degree murder.
The Associated Press reports Gendron, who has been in custody since the shooting on May 14, is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in the Erie County Court in Buffalo. The 18-year-old has also been hit with charges of attempted murder for a hate crime and weapons possession.
The domestic terrorism charge accuses Gendron of killing “because of the perceived race/color” of his victims and is punishable with a life sentence without parole.
The victims in the shooting ranged from 32 to 86 and included eight shoppers, the store security guard, and a church deacon who was driving to and from the store with groceries.
Attorney John Elmore, who is representing the families of victims Katherine Massey, 72, and Andre Mackniel, 53, told the AP he is hoping for a conviction on every charge. Mackniel was in the store buying a birthday cake for his son while Massey was a community activist who supported gun control and fought against racism.
“This man was motivated by hate against people he never met for no reason other than the color of their skin,” Elmore said.
Federal authorities are also investigating whether to add federal hate crime charges against Gendron who had an online diary where he detailed his plan, racist motivations, and allegedly spent months planning the attack.
According to The Washington Post, Gendron spent months keeping his plans from his family. He purchased guns and ammo by buying and selling silver coins and hid the guns in his bedroom. He also added in the diary that he felt his parents were beginning to suspect something was going on with him. Both of Gendron’s parents are civil engineers for the State of New York.