BUFFALO, N.Y. — The man who admitted to killing 10 Black people in a Buffalo grocery store last year will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Payton S. Gendron was sentenced in Erie County Court in front of Judge Susan Eagan to life in prison without parole for the domestic terrorism charge and all 10 first degree murder charges. He had pleaded guilty to the state charges in late November.
Gendron, a White male, shot and killed 10 Black people and injured three others at the Tops on Jefferson Avenue on May 14, 2022.
Gendron pleaded guilty on November 28, 2022, to 15 state charges.
- 10 counts of 1st-degree murder; 1 for each victim
- 1 count of domestic terrorism
- 3 counts of 2nd-degree attempted murder as a hate crime; 1 for each person injured.
- 1 count of 2nd criminal possession of the weapon.
Gendron did speak in court.
He said: "I am very sorry for all the pain I forced the victims and their families suffered through. I am very sorry for stealing the lives of your loved ones. I cannot express how much I regret on the decisions I made leading up to my actions on May 14th. I did a terrible thing that day. I shot and killed people because they were Black. Looking back now I can't believe I actually did it. I believed what I read on line and acted out of hate."
Judge Eagan described each victim as she handed down each sentence. She told Gendron, "There is no place for you or your ignorant, hateful and evil ideologies in a civilized society. There can be no mercy for you, no understanding, no second chances. The damage you have caused is too great. ... The people you have hurt are too valuable to this community. You will never see the light of day as a free man ever again."
Family members who lost loved ones in the May 14 shooting, survivors, as well as others who have been left traumatized gave victim impact statements in court.
Simone Crawley, who was representing the grandchildren of Buffalo mass shooting victim Ruth Whitfield, in her statement, she spoke to Gendron, "You thought you broke us, but you awoke us. Despite our battle scars, you will not win the war. You are a cowardly racist. "Emotions are running high as family members share their statements.
During the emotional statement by Barbara Mapps, the sister of Katherine Massey, a man standing next to her lunged toward Gendron. Several court officers restrained the man and removed him from the courtroom. Gendron was removed from the courtroom until order was restored.
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said there would be no charges filed against that individual. There was also reference to someone actually damaging a courtroom wall but Flynn said it would be taken care of.
“After selecting our city as the target of his terror attack, this defendant shot innocent African American citizens as they were shopping for groceries on a Saturday afternoon," Flynn said in a statement to reporters.
"Violence, especially violence motivated by hate, will not be tolerated. We sought to obtain justice for the victims and our community by prosecuting this defendant to the fullest extent of the law. Today, I am pleased to announced that Payton Gendron will be spending the rest of his life behind bars. While we may never fully heal from this horrific crime, I continue to pray for all who have been impacted by this tragedy."
Gendron will appear in Federal Court on Thursday for a status conference.
You can watch the sentencing here: