On Wednesday (Feb. 15), the self-proclaimed white supremacist who shot and killed 10 Black people at a Buffalo, New York supermarket in May 2022 was sentenced to life in prison without parole for his hate-fueled rampage.
The shooter, Peyton Gendron, previously pleaded guilty in November 2022 to charges including murder and domestic terrorism motivated by hate, the latter charge carrying an automatic life sentence. He entered Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo’s East Side on May 14, 2022 wearing a bulletproof vest and a helmet with camera live-streaming the attack online.
“There was nothing hasty or thoughtless about your conduct,” Judge Susan Eagan said of Gendron’s actions on that day, per the Associated Press. “There are no mitigating factors to be considered.”
His sentencing marked an emotional day for the families of those killed in the senseless tragedy. One man in the audience charged toward the shooter during the hearing, leading to him being restrained and Gendron being quickly shuffled out of the courtroom. After a short break, people who lost loved ones or were wounded in the attack themselves continued to deliver powerful statements to the court.
Gendron himself delivered a short statement acknowledging the pain that he caused as a result of the shooting. He confessed that he had been radicalized by anti-Black hatred and racist conspiracy theories online. “I shot and killed people because they were Black,” he said plainly. “I believed what I read online and acted out of hate, and now I can’t take it back, but I wish I could, and I don’t want anyone to be inspired by me.” As he issued his apology, a woman in the courtroom screamed they “don’t need” his words and stormed out.
This isn’t the end of Gendron’s legal woes. The mass shooter also faces separate federal charges that could carry a death sentence if convicted by the US Justice Department. His defense attorney said two months ago that his client is prepared to plead guilty to the federal charges to avoid execution.
“There can be no mercy for you, no understanding, no second chances,” Judge Susan Eagan said as she handed down her sentence.
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