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Suspected gunman in Buffalo Tops supermarket shooting that killed 10, charged with federal hate crimes

BUFFALO, New York — The gunman who authorities believe killed 10 black people in a racist attack on a Buffalo supermarket has been charged with federal hate crimes, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday.

Payton Gendron had already received a mandatory life sentence without parole if he was convicted on previously filed state charges during the May 14 disaster, which also left three survivors – one black and two white – with gunshot wounds.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland was in Buffalo on Wednesday to visit the families of 10 black people killed in a white gunman’s racist attack on a supermarket.

Gendron is already facing life in prison if convicted on state charges in the May 14 rampage, which also left three survivors — one black and two white — with gunshot wounds.

Gendron’s radical, racist worldview and extensive preparation for the Tops Friendly Market attack are outlined in documents he apparently wrote and posted online shortly before the attack.

The documents embrace an unfounded conspiracy theory about a plot to reduce the power of white Americans and “replace” them with people of color, through immigration and other means.

The reports describe months of reconnaissance, demographic research and target practice for a massacre aimed at scaring anyone who is not white and Christian into leaving the country.

Gendron drove more than 200 miles (320 kilometers) from his home in an almost all-white town near the New York-Pennsylvania border to a predominantly black part of Buffalo. There, authorities say, he mowed down shoppers and workers with an AR-15-style rifle, body armor to protect himself and live streaming of the massacre from a helmet-mounted camera.

The 18-year-old surrendered to the police as he left the supermarket.

He pleaded not guilty to charges of domestic terrorism by the state, including hate-motivated domestic terrorism and murder.

According to online documents attributed to Gendron, in March he had explored the supermarket, drawn maps and even counted the number of black people he saw there.

Federal authorities had said they were considering hate crime charges in the murders, compounding the undiminished toll of gun violence in the United States.

Ten days after the Buffalo attack, another 18-year-old opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, killing 19 children and two teachers.

Shortly after, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed 10 bills related to public safety, including one banning New Yorkers under 21 from buying semi-automatic rifles and another banning the “red flag” law of the New York City. state, allowing courts to temporarily hold weapons of people that could pose a threat to themselves or others.

The U.S. Senate followed suit on June 12 with a bipartisan agreement on more modest federal gun restrictions and stepped up efforts to improve school safety and mental health programs.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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