Updated Jun 1, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Grand jury indicts Buffalo shooting suspect on terrorism charge

People walk near the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Riley Street attend a vigil across the street from Tops Friendly Market on May 17.

A vigil across the street from Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, New York, on May 17. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A grand jury on Wednesday charged the 18-year-old accused of shooting and killing 10 people in a Buffalo, New York, supermarket with domestic terrorism motivated by hate and 10 counts of first-degree murder, AP reports.

Why it matters: The grand jury previously charged the suspected gunman with one count of first-degree murder but was continuing its investigation into the May 14 shooting, which is also being investigated by the FBI as a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism.

  • The suspect, Payton Gendron from Conklin, New York, is set to be arraigned in Erie County Court on Thursday, according to AP.
  • In total, the indictment contains 25 counts, including attempted murder as a hate crime.
  • Gendron previously pleaded not guilty to the single first-degree murder charge.

Police said Gendron drove more than 200 miles from Conklin to Buffalo a day before the shooting to "scope out" the grocery store and wore tactical gear, including a bulletproof vest, during the attack, which also injured three people.

  • Law enforcement confirmed that the suspect livestreamed the shooting on Twitch for about two minutes. Copies and screenshots were taken from the broadcast and were circulated online.
  • 11 of the 13 total victims were Black and the semiautomatic rifle used in the attack had been inscribed with a racial epithet and the number 14, a white supremacist numeric symbol.
  • Investigators are in the process of validating whether Gendron posted an 180-page screed to the online forum 4chan before the shooting, which repeatedly cited the racist and anti-immigrant "white replacement theory" as motivation for the attack.

The big picture: The shooting in Buffalo came just days before another gunman killed 19 kids and two teachers inside an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24.

  • Both mass shooting events have intensified the debate on U.S. gun control legislation and renewed scrutiny on gun rights organizations and gun manufacturers.

Go deeper: House committee to hold emergency hearing on gun control bills

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details throughout.

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