Buffalo gunman pleads guilty in racist supermarket massacre

Nov 27, 2022, 8:04 AM | Updated: Nov 28, 2022, 8:49 pm
CORRECTS DATE Brian Parker, Payton Gendron's lawyer, speaks during a press conference at Erie Count...

CORRECTS DATE Brian Parker, Payton Gendron's lawyer, speaks during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. The white gunman who massacred 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

(AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

              CORRECTS DATE Brian Parker, Payton Gendron's lawyer, speaks during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. The white gunman who massacred 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges.  (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              CORRECTS DATE Erie County District Attorney John Flynn speaks during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. The white gunman who massacred 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              CORRECTS DATE Mark Talley, son of Tops shooting victim Geraldine Talley, listens as Erie County District Attorney John Flynn reads the names of victims during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              CORRECTS DATE Family members of victims in the Topps supermarket shooting react as Erie County District Attorney John Flynn reads the names of victims during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              FILE - Payton Gendron is led into the courtroom for a hearing at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Thursday, May 19, 2022. Gendron, who massacred 10 Black shoppers and workers at a Buffalo supermarket, has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges. Payton Gendron entered the plea Monday in an Erie County courtroom. The charges carry an automatic sentence of life in prison. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
            
              CORRECTS DATE Brian Parker, Payton Gendron's lawyer, speaks during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. The white gunman who massacred 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges.  (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              CORRECTS DATE Erie County District Attorney John Flynn speaks during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. The white gunman who massacred 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              CORRECTS DATE Mark Talley, son of Tops shooting victim Geraldine Talley, listens as Erie County District Attorney John Flynn reads the names of victims during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              CORRECTS DATE Family members of victims in the Topps supermarket shooting react as Erie County District Attorney John Flynn reads the names of victims during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              FILE - Payton Gendron is led into the courtroom for a hearing at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Thursday, May 19, 2022. Gendron, who massacred 10 Black shoppers and workers at a Buffalo supermarket, has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges. Payton Gendron entered the plea Monday in an Erie County courtroom. The charges carry an automatic sentence of life in prison. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
            
              CORRECTS DATE Brian Parker, Payton Gendron's lawyer, speaks during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. The white gunman who massacred 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges.  (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              CORRECTS DATE Erie County District Attorney John Flynn speaks during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. The white gunman who massacred 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              CORRECTS DATE Mark Talley, son of Tops shooting victim Geraldine Talley, listens as Erie County District Attorney John Flynn reads the names of victims during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              CORRECTS DATE Family members of victims in the Topps supermarket shooting react as Erie County District Attorney John Flynn reads the names of victims during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              FILE - Payton Gendron is led into the courtroom for a hearing at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Thursday, May 19, 2022. Gendron, who massacred 10 Black shoppers and workers at a Buffalo supermarket, has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges. Payton Gendron entered the plea Monday in an Erie County courtroom. The charges carry an automatic sentence of life in prison. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
            
              Brian Parker, Payton Gendron's lawyer, speaks during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 27, 2022. The white gunman who massacred 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges.  (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              Erie County District Attorney John Flynn speaks during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 27, 2022. The white gunman who massacred 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              Mark Talley, son of Tops shooting victim Geraldine Talley, listens as Erie County District Attorney John Flynn reads the names of victims during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              Family members of victims in the Topps supermarket shooting react as Erie County District Attorney John Flynn reads the names of victims during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              FILE - Payton Gendron is led into the courtroom for a hearing at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Thursday, May 19, 2022. Gendron, who massacred 10 Black shoppers and workers at a Buffalo supermarket, has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges. Payton Gendron entered the plea Monday in an Erie County courtroom. The charges carry an automatic sentence of life in prison. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
            
              Brian Parker, Payton Gendron's lawyer, speaks during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 27, 2022. The white gunman who massacred 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges.  (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              Erie County District Attorney John Flynn speaks during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 27, 2022. The white gunman who massacred 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              Mark Talley, son of Tops shooting victim Geraldine Talley, listens as Erie County District Attorney John Flynn reads the names of victims during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              Family members of victims in the Topps supermarket shooting react as Erie County District Attorney John Flynn reads the names of victims during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              FILE - Payton Gendron is led into the courtroom for a hearing at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Thursday, May 19, 2022. Gendron, who massacred 10 Black shoppers and workers at a Buffalo supermarket, has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges. Payton Gendron entered the plea Monday in an Erie County courtroom. The charges carry an automatic sentence of life in prison. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
            
              Brian Parker, Payton Gendron's lawyer, speaks during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 27, 2022. The white gunman who massacred 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges.  (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              Erie County District Attorney John Flynn speaks during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 27, 2022. The white gunman who massacred 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              Mark Talley, son of Tops shooting victim Geraldine Talley, listens as Erie County District Attorney John Flynn reads the names of victims during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              Family members of victims in the Topps supermarket shooting react as Erie County District Attorney John Flynn reads the names of victims during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              FILE - Payton Gendron is led into the courtroom for a hearing at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Thursday, May 19, 2022. Gendron, who massacred 10 Black shoppers and workers at a Buffalo supermarket, has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges. Payton Gendron entered the plea Monday in an Erie County courtroom. The charges carry an automatic sentence of life in prison. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
            
              Brian Parker, Payton Gendron's lawyer, speaks during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 27, 2022. The white gunman who massacred 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges.  (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              Erie County District Attorney John Flynn speaks during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 27, 2022. The white gunman who massacred 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              Mark Talley, son of Tops shooting victim Geraldine Talley, listens as Erie County District Attorney John Flynn reads the names of victims during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              Family members of victims in the Topps supermarket shooting react as Erie County District Attorney John Flynn reads the names of victims during a press conference at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
            
              FILE - Payton Gendron is led into the courtroom for a hearing at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Thursday, May 19, 2022. Gendron, who massacred 10 Black shoppers and workers at a Buffalo supermarket, has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges. Payton Gendron entered the plea Monday in an Erie County courtroom. The charges carry an automatic sentence of life in prison. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
            
              FILE - Payton Gendron is led into the courtroom for a hearing at Erie County Court, in Buffalo, N.Y., Thursday, May 19, 2022. Gendron, who massacred 10 Black shoppers and workers at a Buffalo supermarket, has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges. Payton Gendron entered the plea Monday in an Erie County courtroom. The charges carry an automatic sentence of life in prison. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
            
              FILE - This image provided by the Erie County, N.Y., District Attorney's Office shows Payton Gendron. Gendron, a white gunman who targeted a Buffalo supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood, plans to plead guilty on Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, to killing 10 people and wounding three others, according to lawyers representing victims’ relatives. (Erie County District Attorney's Office via AP, File)
            
              FILE - Payton Gendron is led into the courtroom for a hearing at Erie County Court in Buffalo, N.Y., on May 19, 2022. Gendron, a white gunman who targeted a Buffalo supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood, plans to plead guilty on Monday, Nov. 28, to killing 10 people and wounding three others, according to lawyers representing victims’ relatives. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The white gunman who massacred 10 Black shoppers and workers at a Buffalo supermarket pleaded guilty Monday to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges, guaranteeing he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Payton Gendron, 19, entered the plea Monday in a courthouse roughly two miles from the grocery store where he used a semiautomatic rifle and body armor to carry out a racist assault he hoped would help preserve white power in the U.S.

Gendron, who was handcuffed and wore an orange jumpsuit, occasionally licked and clenched his lips as he pleaded guilty to all of the most serious charges in the grand jury indictment, including murder, murder as a hate crime and hate-motivated domestic terrorism, which carries an automatic sentence of life without parole.

He answered “yes” and “guilty” as Judge Susan Eagan referred to each victim by name and asked whether he killed them because of their race. Gendron also pleaded guilty to wounding three people who survived the May attack.

Many of the relatives of those victims sat and watched, some dabbing their eyes and sniffling. Speaking to reporters later, several said the plea left them cold. It didn’t address the bigger problem, which they said is racism in America.

“His voice made me feel sick, but it showed me I was right,” said Zeneta Everhart, whose 20-year-old son was shot in the neck but survived. “This country has a problem. This country is inherently violent. It is racist. And his voice showed that to me.”

After the roughly 45-minute proceeding ended, Gendron’s lawyers suggested that he now regrets his crimes, but they didn’t elaborate or take questions.

“This critical step represents a condemnation of the racist ideology that fueled his horrific actions on May 14,” said Gendron’s lawyer, Brian Parker. “It is our hope that a final resolution of the state charges will help in some small way to keep the focus on the needs of the victims and the community.”

Gendron’s parents, in their first public statement, said the guilty plea ensures their son will be held accountable. Paul and Pamela Gendron said they “pray for healing for everyone affected.” They thanked law enforcement authorities who investigated the case, adding they will “continue to provide any assistance we can.”

“We remain shocked and shattered to learn that our son was responsible for the hideous attack at the Tops grocery store on May 14, 2022,” said the emailed statement, which was provided to The Associated Press by their attorney.

Gendron has pleaded not guilty to separate federal hate crime charges that could result in a death sentence if he is convicted. The U.S. Justice Department has not said whether it will seek capital punishment. Acknowledgement of guilt and a claim of repentance could potentially help Gendron in a penalty phase of a death penalty trial.

The plea comes at a time when many Americans have become nearly desensitized to mass shootings. In recent weeks, there have been deadly attacks at a Walmart in Virginia, at a gay club in Colorado and at the University of Virginia.

Just days after Gendron’s rampage in Buffalo, a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at a school in Uvalde, Texas.

Gendron wore body armor and used a legally purchased AR-15 style rifle in his attack on the Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo. Those killed ranged in age from 32 to 86 and included an armed security guard died trying to protect customers, a church deacon and the mother of a former Buffalo fire commissioner. Gendron surrendered when police confronted him as he emerged from the store.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, who was in the courtroom for Gendron’s guilty plea, told reporters afterwards that “It was important to hear why these precious lives were snatched from us for no other reason than the color of their skin.”

The mayor, a Democrat, called for a ban on assault weapons, as did Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia. Relatives of the victims reiterated their calls for Congress and the FBI to address white supremacy and gun violence. “We are literally begging for those in power to do something about it,” said Garnell Whitfield, whose 86-year-old mother, Ruth Whitfield, was killed.”

White supremacy was Gendron’s motive. He said in documents posted online just before the attack that he’d picked the store, about a three hour drive from his home in Conklin, New York, because it was in a predominantly Black neighborhood. He said he was motivated by a belief in a massive conspiracy to dilute the power of white people by “replacing” them in the U.S. with people of color.

“Swift justice,” is how Erie County District Attorney John Flynn described Monday’s result, noting that it’s the first time anyone in the state of New York has been convicted of the hate-motivated terrorism charge. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 15.

Attorney Benjamin Crump, who represents several of the victims’ families, said they remain baffled that the gunman survived. They want harsh punishment, he said: “We want him to be treated as the heinous, cold blooded vicious murderer that he was for killing all these innocent Black people. It is emotional and we are angry.”

Mark Talley, the son of Geraldine Talley, who was killed, called on authorities to incarcerate him in Erie County, in the same community where he caused so much pain, so that he might face the same horror experienced by his victims. “I want that pain to eat at him every second of every day for the rest of his life,” Talley said.

Talley and Everhart said they were offended by Gendron’s tone and cleaned-up appearance in court. They said a Black defendant would have been treated differently. Gendron is a “thug,” they said.

“We show them in a way that doesn’t make them threatening, and it’s disgusting,” Everhart said.

“Am I happy he’s gong to jail for life?” Talley said. “What would make me happy is if America acknowledged its history of racism.”

___

For more AP coverage of the mass shooting: https://apnews.com/hub/buffalo-supermarket-shooting

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

substation...
Associated Press

Puyallup man accused in substation vandalism is released from custody

A federal judge issued the order for Matthew Greenwood, 32, after renewed efforts by his attorney to get Greenwood into a drug-treatment facility.
24 hours ago
FILE - The sun dial near the Legislative Building is shown under cloudy skies, March 10, 2022, at t...
Associated Press

Democrats in Washington state choose Conrad as new leader

The Washington State Democratic Party has chosen Shasti Conrad, the former leader of King County Democrats, as its new chair.
24 hours ago
FILE -- Police block a protest against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Yekaterin...
Associated Press

Global report highlights link between corruption, violence

BERLIN (AP) — Most of the world continues to fail to fight corruption with 95 % of countries having made little to no progress since 2017, a closely watched study by an anti-graft organization found Tuesday. Transparency International’s 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures the perception of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople, […]
24 hours ago
Morning service concludes in the annex of the Cathedral Notre Dame du Congo in Kinshasa, Democratic...
Associated Press

Pope’s Africa trip spotlights conflict, and church’s future

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis is opening a six-day visit to Congo and South Sudan on Tuesday, aiming to bring a message of peace to two countries riven by poverty, conflict and what Francis has called a lingering “colonialist mentality” that still considers Africa ripe for exploitation. Aid groups are hoping Francis’ trip will […]
24 hours ago
Currency traders watch monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquart...
Associated Press

Asian shares fall in muted trading ahead of Fed meeting

TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares mostly fell in muted trading Tuesday as investors awaited decisions on interest rates and earnings reports from around the world. Traders were awaiting the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates, expected on Wednesday. They also were watching for indicators on the Chinese economy, the region’s key engine for growth. […]
24 hours ago
Private and home school students, their parents and advocates crowed part of the second floor of th...
Associated Press

‘School choice’ is culture-war focus for Kansas lawmakers

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Top Republican legislators in Kansas are focusing on helping conservative parents remove their children from public schools over what’s taught about gender and sexuality rather than pursuing a version of what critics call Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. A proposal to allow parents to use state tax dollars to pay for […]
24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Buffalo gunman pleads guilty in racist supermarket massacre