Accused Buffalo shooter Payton Gendron appears in court, indicted in mass shooting

·2 min read

The white man accused of a racist massacre Saturday inside a Buffalo supermarket — an assault with a fusillade of gunfire that left 10 dead — has been indicted by a grand jury.

Payton Gendron, the 18-year-old from Conklin, New York, is scheduled to appear next in court in Buffalo June 9 for an arraignment on the indictment.

In a brief statement Thursday, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said that there had been "action of the Grand Jury" against Gendron — namely an indictment.

"The defendant continues to remain held without bail. There will be no further comment from our office until there is a report following an investigation by the grand jury,” the statement said.

Gendron was charged with first-degree murder in the killings at a Tops in East Buffalo.

A large entourage of local, national, and international media showed up hours before Thursday's hearing, filling seats in the courtroom that were not reserved for relatives of the 10 victims. As a shackled Gendron was led from the courtroom, one person yelled, "Payton, you're a coward," according to reports.

Families of the victims did not comment to the media and also asked not to be photographed.

Defense lawyers also declined to comment after the hearing.

Also on Thursday Buffalo police announced that they have completed collecting evidence at the Tops.

Federal prosecutors are also expected to charge the 18-year-old man with hate crimes; Gendron created an online racist diatribe before he traveled to Buffalo Saturday.

For subscribers: Could federal charges make death penalty possible in Buffalo shooting case?

The suspect's alleged crimes and his clear racism against Black people have sparked state and nationwide conversations about race; guns; so-called "red flag" laws which are designed to identify mentally unstable people seeking firearms; and a once-fringe theory called the "great replacement theory" that has now slithered into mainstream media and politics.

The theory holds that there is an orchestrated push to "replace" white people and rid them of political or societal influence.

This week Gov. Kathy Hochul unveiled proposals to combat domestic terrorism in New York and Attorney General Letitia James announced an investigation into social media channels where the suspect allegedly plotted his assault and communicated with others of similar ideology.

More: NY Gov. Hochul signs executive order to target domestic terrorism, strengthen red flag law

As well, there are questions about whether the state's red flag laws should have prompted scrutiny of the suspect before he bought the semi-automatic rifle used in the assault. The suspect last year made a threat against a high school and also expressed murderous and suicidal ideations.

He underwent a mental health evaluation in June 2021 and was determined not to be dangerous, graduating from Susquehanna Valley High School the same month.

Contact Gary Craig at gcraig@gannett.com or at 585-258-2479. Follow him on Twitter at gcraig1.

This article originally appeared on Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Accused Buffalo shooter Payton Gendron indicted in mass shooting