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Accused Tops shooter indicted on 27 federal counts

(Community representatives and elected officials have gathered for a moment of silence of prayer outside the store. Live coverage of this and a preview of the renovated store can be seen in the video player above)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The man charged with the mass shooting at the Tops on Jefferson Avenue has been indicted on 27 counts.

The federal indictment came down on Thursday, exactly two months after 10 people were killed and three others were injured. Every person killed was Black and the accused shooter is a suspected white supremacist.

MORE | Remembering the Mass Shooting Victims

Payton Gendron, who is now 19, has been indicted on the following:

  • hate crimes resulting in death (10 counts)
  • hate crimes involving an attempt to kill injured individuals (three counts)
  • hate crimes alleging that Gendron tried to kill more Black people in and around the Tops store (one count)
  • using, carrying or discharging a firearm in relation to the hate crimes (13 counts)

“Today, a grand jury has indicted Payton Gendron with hate crime and firearms offenses following the horrific attack on the Black community of Buffalo that killed 10 people and injured three others on May 14, 2022,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said. “The Justice Department fully recognizes the threat that white supremacist violence poses to the safety of the American people and American democracy.  We will continue to be relentless in our efforts to combat hate crimes, to support the communities terrorized by them, and to hold accountable those who perpetrate them.”

In the indictment, prosecutors say there are “special findings alleging, among other things, that Gendron committed the offense after substantial planning and premeditation to commit an act of terrorism.”

If the accused shooter is convicted of the charges against him, he could spend life in prison and receive the death penalty. The Attorney General will decide whether or not to seek the death penalty at a later time, federal prosecutors said.

Since the mass shooting took place, Garland, as well as President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Governor Kathy Hochul have visited the memorial site outside the store.

The store, which will reopen on Friday, has undergone of a series of changes. New safety measures included in the renovated store are:

  • increased security coverage inside and outside the store
  • new surveillance camera to oversee Landon and Riley intersections
  • enhanced video and alarm monitoring systems
  • emergency evacuation alarm system
  • additional emergency exit above and beyond building code
  • new LED lighting in the parking lot and around the building perimeter
  • improved egress points and markings inside the store
  • improved sight lines and openness of the sales floor

Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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