Buffalo mass shooting: Federal hate crime charges announced as AG visits families

·2 min read
Buffalo mass shooting: Federal hate crime charges announced as AG visits families

Federal hate crime charges were announced against the Buffalo mass shooting suspect as Attorney General Merrick Garland arrived in the city Wednesday to meet with the families of the 10 victims.

Garland will meet privately with families and survivors, visit the site of the massacre and hold a press conference.

MORE: Regular shoppers, a retired police officer: Remembering the victims of the Buffalo shooting

Payton Gendron, 18, is accused of storming aTops grocery store on May 14 and gunning down 10 people, all of whom were Black, in an alleged hate crime.

Federal prosecutors charged Gendron with a total of 26 counts of committing a hate crime resulting in death and a hate crime involving bodily injury. He’s also charged with using a firearm to commit murder during a crime of violence.

PHOTO: A man prays at a memorial at the scene of a weekend shooting at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., May 19, 2022. (Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters, FILE)
PHOTO: A man prays at a memorial at the scene of a weekend shooting at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., May 19, 2022. (Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters, FILE)

Gendron's motive "was to prevent Black people from replacing white people and eliminating the white race, and to inspire others to commit similar attacks,” the complaint said. Markings on the rifle used in the shooting including the phrases "here’s your reparations” and “the great replacement," the complaint said.

Other charges against Gendron include 10 counts of first-degree murder and 10 counts of second-degree murder as a hate crime. The teen is the first person in state history to be charged with domestic terrorism motivated by hate. Gendron's lawyers entered a plea of not guilty to the state charges on his behalf.

Related video: How Hollywood is addressing recent mass shootings

MORE: March For Our Lives recap: Frustrated Americans rally for gun reform across US

Days after the massacre, Garland promised that the Justice Department would be "relentlessly investigating this as a hate crime and as a matter of racially-motivated violence extremism."

"Confronting hate and preventing hate crimes is a moral obligation of every American if we want to continue to live in a Democracy," he said.

MORE: Man allegedly shoots, kills ex's 9-year-old daughter in Houston

The Buffalo massacre could inspire more racially motivated attacks in the coming months, the Department of Homeland Security warned in a new report released this week.

Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta and Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Kristen Clarke have joined Garland for Wednesday's trip.

ABC News' Alex Mallin contributed to this report.

Buffalo mass shooting: Federal hate crime charges announced as AG visits families originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting