Suspect in Buffalo racist shooting indicted by grand jury

The Erie County grand jury voted for an indictment against defendant Payton Gendron, “with respect to the felony complaint filed on or about May 14, 2022,” the affidavit states. He had previously pleaded not guilty to a charge of first degree murder, and further charges are expected.

The indictment was announced Thursday during a brief court appearance in Gendron, who was ordered to remain in detention without bond. He wore an orange jumpsuit and white mask and was handcuffed and shackled as he entered the courtroom flanked by officers.

He has been remanded in custody for action by a grand jury and is scheduled to appear in court on June 9. Gendron’s attorney, Brian Parker, had no comment.

As Gendron was led away after his court appearance, someone in the crowded courtroom shouted, “Payton, you’re a coward!”

Gendron is accused of driving nearly 200 miles to kill 10 people and injure three others in a shooting that targeted a community center in a predominantly black neighborhood.

Authorities are investigating the shooting as a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism. Of the 13 victims shot, 11 were black.

In Gendron’s online posts on the Discord chat app and in a 180-page document investigators believe he wrote, he describes himself as a white supremacist, fascist and anti-Semite. He wrote that he targeted the Buffalo supermarket because it had the highest concentration of black people in upstate New York and said he subscribed to the “replacement theory”, a conspiracy theory which claims that a cabal of elites is trying to replace white people with non-white immigrants. .
What we know about Buffalo supermarket shooting suspect Payton Gendron
The suspect’s social media posts have become central to the investigation as they provide details of how he planned his attack and his motives.
In posts first shared on Discord and then more widely on the hate-filled online forum 4Chan, Gendron said he visited the grocery store several times on March 8 to learn about the layout. He noted how many black and white people shopped during his visits and drew a map of the store’s interior, according to his posts.
The suspect also streamed the shooting live on the Twitch website. The company said it deleted the video within minutes, but social media companies were struggling to contain its spread.

Officials dig into red flag laws, social media sites

While the suspect is behind bars, New York officials have called for a closer look into how he was able to obtain firearms and how he communicated his plans online.

In June, Gendron showed a warning sign of potential violence when he completed a school project on murder-suicides while a student at Susquehanna Valley Central High School in Conklin, New York, officials said. .

The police were called to the school, and he was taken for a mental health evaluation, then released. At the time, police did not seek a “red flag” protection order against Gendron.

The Red Flag Act, also known as the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, is designed to prevent anyone who shows signs of threatening themselves or others from purchasing a firearm , says the New York website.

NY Attorney General to Investigate Social Media Platforms After Buffalo Shooting

But because the appraisal was not an involuntary undertaking, it did not preclude the alleged shooter from purchasing or possessing a weapon under federal law, a police spokesperson said. New York State, Beau Duffy.

Since the shooting, Governor Kathy Hochul has proposed a set of gun laws, along with other changes to law enforcement protocol when a person shows they may be harmful to themselves or for the others.

On Wednesday, Hochul said she would sign an executive order requiring state police to file an “extreme risk protection order” under the Red Flag Act when she believes an individual is a threat to himself, for himself or for others.

The firearms law package would aim to close loopholes around specific types of firearms that fall outside current regulations, including high-powered concealable firearms and those that can be modified to contain high-capacity magazines, she said.

The proposed legislation would address “just one of these huge loopholes that you can drive a truck through”, she said.

Additionally, New York Attorney General Letitia James has launched an investigation into the social media platforms allegedly used by the suspect.

The investigation, revealed by James’ office on Wednesday, focuses on Twitch, Discord and the 4chan and 8chan (now known as 8kun) websites. Other, as-yet-unnamed companies may also be involved in the investigation, James said.

The investigation is expected to focus on companies that “the Buffalo shooter used to plan, promote and broadcast his terrorist attack,” James announced in a tweet.

CNN’s Aya Elamroussi, Shimon Prokupecz, Kimberly Berryman, Liam Reilly, Mark Morales and Kristina Sgueglia contributed to this report.

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