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Home » Man Who Carried Out Racist Grocery Store Mass Shooting in Buffalo Receives Life Sentence

Man Who Carried Out Racist Grocery Store Mass Shooting in Buffalo Receives Life Sentence

16 February 2023, Thursday
At an emotional court hearing on Wednesday, Payton Gendron, the 19-year-old White man who killed 10 people in a racist mass shooting at a grocery store in a predominantly Black area of Buffalo last May, was sentenced to life in prison and offered an apology to the victims’ families.

Gendron, wearing an orange jumpsuit and shackles, said, “I’m very sorry for all the pain I forced the victims and their families to suffer through. I’m very sorry for stealing the lives of your loved ones. I cannot express how much I regret all the decisions I made leading up to my actions on May 14.”

At a state sentencing hearing, Gendron, who admitted to the mass shooting at Tops Friendly Markets on May 14, 2022, expressed regret for his actions. "I know I can’t undo it, but I wish I could, and I don't want anyone to be inspired by what I did," he said.

The crime had an immense impact on the victims' families, several of whom testified emotionally in the courtroom. Gendron listened intently and eventually broke down in tears.

He pleaded guilty in November to one count of domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate, 10 counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder and a weapons possession charge.

At a hearing in Erie County Court, a man in a gray sweatshirt rushed at accused murderer, Paul Gendron, before being blocked by security. Gendron was then taken out of the courtroom before being allowed to return after a short break. Judge Susan Eagan commented, “We cannot have that in the courtroom. We must conduct ourselves appropriately because we are all better than that.”

The judge delivered a strong reprimand on Gendron, convicting him to a life sentence on both counts of homicide and terrorism.

“No mercy should be given to one who preaches and propagates ignorant, hurtful, and wicked ideologies. The injury you have brought about is immeasurable and the people of our society deserve to be safe and protected,” the judge said. “Consequently, you shall spend the rest of your life in prison, away from the light of day.”

District attorney John J. Flynn said that this decision legally ends the whole incident, however, the questions that arise due to the case still remain.

Justice was done, albeit on a small scale, Friday in a courtroom in Hillsboro, Oregon, when a man was convicted of aggravated murder in a 2017 attack on a seniors' home.

Judge Donald R. Letourneau sentenced Tyrell Reed, 32, to life in prison without the possibility of parole for killing 72-year-old Katherine Massey and attacking another person in a Hillsboro retirement home.

"Justice was done with a small 'j' today, but we still have a big 'J' of Justice to do," said Washington County District Attorney Kevin S. Flynn.

The hearing was interrupted when a man tried to rush the bench while Judge Letourneau was delivering the sentence. He was quickly subdued by court officials.

It was later revealed that the man was the son of one of the women who gave a victim impact statement during the proceedings, Barbara Mapps, who is the sister of Massey.

Despite the justice served, Flynn noted that more must be done to address the challenges of society.

"It certainly does not put any closure on what we need to do as a society and a community going forward," he said.

Mapps expressed her outrage in court when Gendron, the accused white supremacist, received a suspended sentence. She declared she wanted to choke Gendron, as he had come to kill black people. Flynn, the prosecutor, announced Gendron would not be charged for his actions as he did not want to add to the tragedy of the event. Mapps admitted her son had rushed to the stand to support her after she became emotional.

The family and friends of victims who were murdered by Buford “Ray” Gendron in 2019 gathered in a Tampa courtroom recently to give their statements during the sentencing phase of the trial. Gendron had been convicted of first-degree murder for the killing of four people and the attempted killing of a fifth.

The victims’ families during the hearing detailed their loved ones’ lives and their devotion to their communities. They also provided their thoughts on the violence and hateful ideology of Gendron’s actions.

“We’re close,” said Shannon Jones, the sister of one of the victims. “This is the way we were brought up. You hurt one of us, you hurt us all.” While many family members expressed their desire for Gendron to be punished with life without parole, Wayne Jones, the son of Celestine Chaney, pleaded for Gendron to find “it in your heart to apologize to those families.”

Geraldine Talley's family member Brian Talley expressed his hope that those responsible for perpetrating the shooting would not be killed. In addition, Talley expressed forgiveness of the attackers, not for their benefit but in order to bring healing to the Black community. Christopher Braden, who sustained a gunshot wound in his leg, also shared his recollections of being evacuated from the supermarket while being surrounded by dead bodies. Zeneta Everhart, mother of Zaire Goodman, whose injury was a result of the shooting, then discussed how her son has been struggling with survivor's guilt.

Everhart, whose son was injured in the mass shooting at Buffalo's Daemen College, could not bring herself to bear the pain that her son was undergoing. At a court hearing on Wednesday, Everhart addressed the shooter, Alexander Gendron, saying that whatever sentence he received would never be enough.

"He is dealing with the pain that I as a mother cannot bear", said Everhart. "On that day this terrorist made the choice that the value of a Black human meant nothing to him...whatever the sentence is that [Gendron] receives, it will never be enough."

Michelle Spight, who said she lost her aunt and her cousin in the shooting, described how she hoped Gendron was haunted every day and night. "You came to Buffalo with hatred and anger in your heart," said Spight, speaking on behalf of her other family members.

After the court hearing, several Buffalo officials and families expressed their belief that Gendron's apology was not genuine. Everhart noted that the gunman should be scared.

Everhart expressed that Gendron should feel the same emotions experienced by the families of the victims when he pointed a gun in their faces. This sentiment was echoed following an incident in the courtroom where someone rushed at Gendron.

"I was glad to see him scared today," Everhart said. "He should have to feel what those families felt when he did that. That's how he should feel each and every day."

Everhart further shared that she and other affected family members feel the same emotions on a daily basis.

On the afternoon of May 14th, Gendron transformed a community's access to necessities into a crime scene.

The man had been heavily armed and outfitted with tactical armor, including a helmet, as police revealed later. Additionally, he broadcasted his activities on camera.

Confiscating an unlawfully modified semi-automatic rifle, the shooter killed four individuals in front of the grocery store, three of whom didn't make it. Inside the building, he murdered an armed security guard and another eight people, six of whom died.

The events left the predominantly African American Masten Park on Buffalo's east side in a state of shock and devastation. The Tops Friendly Markets had been the only supermarket in the area, moreover it was a food desert.

Gendron was accountable for thirteen victims, namely eleven African American and two Caucasian individuals, with all the deceased being Black.

Prosecutors have argued that the massacre at the Tops supermarket was the product of Gendron's racism towards Black people. This was evidenced by his social media posts and the long document he wrote, outlining the attack and admitting he had visited the supermarket repeatedly ahead of time.

Gendron stated that he chose the Tops market because it was situated in the 14208 ZIP code of Buffalo, where the highest proportion of Black people close to Conklin, New York, resided.

Gendron is facing several charges in connection to the hate-motivated shooting incident which is the first instance of New York’s terrorism charge being used since it became available in 2020. He is being charged with 10 counts of hate crime resulting in death, three counts of hate crime involving bodily injury, 10 counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a violent crime, and three counts of use and discharge of a firearm during a violent crime. According to the criminal complaint, Gendron claimed to be a fascist, a white supremacist and an antisemite in his writings which he cites the internet for his beliefs. Gendron has pleaded not guilty to the federal charges, and his lawyers have proposed that if prosecutors agree to forgo the death penalty, he would be willing to plead guilty.
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