Buffalo shooting: Broome County 18-year-old charged, more details emerge about him | #College. | #Students

Buffalo, N.Y. — A Broome County 18-year-old who drove to a Buffalo supermarket and fatally shot 10 people Saturday afternoon has been charged with murder, the Erie County DA said.

Payton Gendron, of Conklin, was arraigned just before 8 p.m. and charged with first-degree murder, Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn said Saturday night. If convicted he could face life in prison with no parole, the highest punishment allowed in New York State, the DA said.

“I understand my charges,” Gendron said in court, according to News 4 Buffalo. Gendron pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to the DA.

Gendron was a student at SUNY Broome Community College, near Binghamton, but he is no longer studying there, the Buffalo News reported Saturday night. A college spokeswoman did not elaborate on when Gendron attended the school nor when and why he left, the News reported.

Gendron has been investigated by law enforcement before.

In June 2021, police in Broome County were called by high school officials who told them Gendron had threatened violence in comments made to fellow students, the News reported.

“A school official reported that this very troubled young man had made statements indicating that he wanted to do a shooting, either at a graduation ceremony, or sometime after,” the same government official familiar with the case told the News.

State Police were sent to investigate and Gendron, under a section of state mental health laws, was referred for a mental health evaluation and counseling, the official told the News.

The Buffalo shooting is also being investigated as a hate crime and Gendron could also face additional terrorism charges, Flynn said.

Stephen Belongia, who heads a Buffalo-area branch of the FBI, said that agency is investigating this “both as a hate crime and racially motivated violent extremism.”

Gov. Kathy Hochel said in a news conference Saturday night in Buffalo, the state’s Hate Crime Task Force will also be investigating. She condemned social media platforms after reports that Gendron was very active with hate speech and that he livestreamed Saturday’s mass shooting.

Gendron was held without bail and is scheduled to appear back in court for a felony hearing within five days, Flynn said.

Payton Gendron talks with his attorney during his arraignment in Buffalo City Court, Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Buffalo, N.Y. Gendron was arraigned on first-degree murder charges and ordered detained without bail. Police officials said the 18-year-old was wearing body armor and military-style clothing when he pulled up and opened fire at people at a Tops Friendly Market. (Mark Mulville/The Buffalo News via AP)AP

What we know so far:

  • The gunman drove over 200 miles from Conklin in Broome County to Buffalo where he fatally shot 10 people at the Tops Friendly Market on Jefferson Avenue on Saturday afternoon.
  • Several law enforcement officials said at a news conference late Saturday afternoon, the mass shooting was racially motivated and a hate crime. Gendron is white and 11 of the 13 victims were Black, law enforcement officials said.
  • Payton Gendron, 18, of Broome County, was arraigned Saturday evening before Buffalo City Court Judge Craig Hannah. He was charged with first-degree murder and could face a life sentence in convicted.
  • Erie County Sheriff John Garcia said, “It was straight up, a racially motivated hate crime.” Garcia added, “This person was pure evil.
  • The gunman livestreamed the shooting on a social media site, authorities said. He also is reported to have left a racist manifesto.
  • Four people were shot in the Tops parking lot, three killed and one injured, before the shooter entered the store, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said. Inside the supermarket, several other victims were found, two sources said, and some of the deceased appeared to be hiding near cash register lines.
  • A security guard, a retired Buffalo police officer, fired multiple shots and hit the shooter, but the bullets did not penetrate the shooter’s heavy armor. The man shot and killed the security guard, Gramaglia said.

Staff writer James McClendon covers breaking news, crime and public safety. Have a tip, a story idea, a question or a comment? Reach him at 914-204-2815 or jmcclendon@syracuse.com.

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