Buffalo supermarket shooter Payton Gendron pleaded guilty to state charges stemming from the Tops supermarket shooting in a predominantly Black neighborhood of East Buffalo.
Gendron pleaded guilty to 15 charges in all, including domestic terrorism motivated by hate, murder and attempted murder. He still faces more than two dozen federal charges, some of which carry the possibility of the death penalty. His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 15, 2023, at 9:30 a.m.
Domestic terrorism motivated by hate carries a mandatory life sentence.
Gendron fatally shot 10 Black people at a Tops supermarket “because of the perceived race and/or color” of the victims, according to the indictment by the Erie County district attorney.
Gendron was charged with carrying out a “domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate” along with 10 counts of murder in the first degree, 10 counts of murder in the second degree as a hate crime, three counts of attempted murder as a hate crime and one count of criminal possession of a weapon.
He is the first to be charged with domestic terrorism motivated by hate in New York under a 2020 statute, which was implemented following an El Paso, Texas, shooting targeting Latinos in 2019.
“That charge only has one sentence if the defendant is found guilty of that charge: life in prison without parole,” Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said at the time the indictment was unsealed.
He has been charged by federal prosecutors 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. In July, Gendron’s public defender entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.
White supremacist rhetoric online, including the promotion of racist conspiracy theories, has been linked to Gendron and his alleged motive behind the Buffalo attack, ABC News has previously reported. Gendron traveled from his home near Binghamton, New York, to carry out the shooting, according to officials.
The families of Buffalo victims are expected to speak following the hearing.