The upstate New York man accused of killing ten Black people during a racist attack on a supermarket in Buffalo has reportedly been indicted by a grand jury.
According to the Associated Press, on Wednesday (June 1), Payton Gendron was indicted on a state domestic terrorism and hate crime charge that would carry a mandatory sentence of life in prison. New York has no death penalty.
Gendron faces a 25-count indictment, which builds on a previous murder charge hastily prepared in the hours following the May 14 shooting. Additionally, the 18-year-old has now been charged with the attempted murders of three people who were shot during the attack, but survived, and with using a weapon while committing a felony.
Gendron, who is alleged to be a white supremacist, has pleaded not guilty. His attorney, Brian Parker, said he had not seen the indictment and couldn’t comment, adding that prosecution and defense lawyers have been barred by a judge from discussing the case publicly, according to the AP.
According to the Buffalo Police Department, Gendron, the accused shooter, entered the Tops Friendly Market on May 14 with a military-style assault rifle and opened fire. Investigators believe it was a racially motivated attack, the Associated Press reports.
He allegedly researched the local demographics and chose that supermarket to kill as many Black people as possible, and shot 11 Black people and two white people during the shooting.
Gendron, whose lawyer entered a not guilty plea for him at an earlier court appearance, didn’t speak. His attorneys later declined to comment. He is being held without bail and is due back in court June 9.
“This man was motivated by hate against people he never met for no reason other than the color of their skin,” said Buffalo attorney John Elmore, who represents the families of two of the victims.
Federal law enforcement are investigating the possibility of hate crime and terrorism charges against Gendron, who apparently detailed his plans for the assault and his racist motivation in hundreds of pages of writings he posted online shortly before the shooting, the AP reported.