A federal grand jury has indicted the alleged Buffalo, New York, mass shooter with federal hate crimes.
Payton Gendron is accused of storming a Tops grocery store in May and killing 10 people, all of whom were Black.
According to ABC News, Attorney General Merrick Garland can now consider the death penalty in the case.
“We will continue to be relentless in our efforts to combat hate crimes, to support the communities terrorized by them, and to hold accountable those who perpetrate them,” Garland said.
Gendron, 19, also allegedly aimed his rifle and shot a white Tops employee in the leg. He allegedly apologized to the man before continuing the attack.
The victims included four grocery store employees and six customers, several of whom were regulars at the local store.
Police say Gendron planned the shooting for months and even drove to the store to sketch the layout and count the number of Black people in the store.
A criminal complaint says that Gendron wanted to “inspire others to commit similar attacks.” His rifle had markings that said, “Here’s your reparations” and “the great replacement.”
Gendron was charged with “10 counts of hate crimes resulting in death, three counts of hate crimes involving an attempt to kill three injured individuals, and one hate crimes count alleging that Gendron attempted to kill additional Black people in and around the Tops grocery store,” according to a statement from the Department of Justice. He’s also charged with 13 firearms offenses.
According to the Justice Department, “The Attorney General will decide whether to seek the death penalty at a later time. Should the Attorney General determine that the circumstances of the offense are such that a sentence of death is justified, the law requires that notice be filed with the court at a reasonable time before trial.”
The Tops store will reopen this week.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/John Normile/Stringer
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.