On Monday, the mass shooting accused Payton Gendron pleaded not guilty to the May 14 massacre in Buffalo, New York.
Prosecutors accused Payton Gendron of a racially charged attack, claiming that the 18-year-old was a far-right white supremacist who primarily targeted black shoppers during the shooting in the Tops Friendly Market store on the East Side of Buffalo. The shooting left 10 dead and three wounded.
Payton Gendron was charged with multiple crimes, including ten counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder, and domestic terrorism motivated by hate.
Gendron was accused of planning the attack for months in the federal indictment. As per ABC, he allegedly prepared a white supremacist manifesto and adorned the weapon used in the shooting with racist rhetoric.
In the indictment, prosecutors said:
"Gendron’s motive for the mass shooting was to prevent Black people from replacing White people and eliminating the White race, and to inspire others to commit similar attacks."
Gendron was also accused of livestreaming the attack for his social media followers.
Accusations against Payton Gendron
As per the indictment, Gendron allegedly targeted the Tops Friendly Supermarket as it was known to be frequented by African American shoppers. Of the 13 people shot in the attack, 11 were African American.
As per NPR, Gendron may have also targeted more vulnerable older shoppers. These included 86-year-old Ruth Whitfield, 77-year-old Pearl Young, 72-year-old Katherin Massey, 67-year-old Heyward Patterson, and 65-year-old Celestine Chaney.
According to CNN, Gendron is accused of having driven over three hours from his home in Conklin, New York, towards the location of the shooting. The attack also showed signs of preparation.
Gendron wore a head-mounted camera and tactical gear, including body armor and a military-style helmet. He was allegedly armed with a modified XM-15 Bushmaster rifle.
Payton Gendron is accused of posting online about his plans to carry out the shooting as early as September. In a statement to the press, Zeneta Everhart, the mother of survivor Zaire Goodman, expressed her outrage at Gendron's plea.
Everhart claimed that there was substantive online evidence that Gendron had planned the attack over a long period of time.
"We all know he's guilty. We saw what he did. The world saw what he did. He posted what he did."
In the aftermath of the attack, authorities seized several weapons from Gendron's possession, including a bolt-action rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and the semi-automatic rifle reportedly used in the attack. The weapons were legally purchased but were illegally modified.
Gendron could face the death sentence if convicted of the federal charges against him.