BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The 19-year-old charged with killing 10 people and injuring three others at the Tops on Jefferson Avenue appeared in federal court on Monday morning, where he entered a plea of “not guilty.” Last week, exactly two months after the attack, Payton Gendron was indicted on 27 federal counts of hate crimes.
Every person killed in the mass shooting was Black and the accused shooter is a suspected white supremacist. The loved ones of several of the victims were present during the accused shooter’s arraignment.
“The Justice Department fully recognizes the threat that white supremacist violence poses to the safety of the American people and American democracy,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said. “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.”
The suspect’s next federal court appearance will be on December 9 for a status conference. He could spend the rest of his life in prison and receive the death penalty if he’s convicted of the charges against him. At a later time, Garland will decide whether or not to seek the death penalty.
In the two months that followed the mass shooting, the grocery store that was the site of the shooting underwent a series of changes, including renovations, the installation of memorials, and improvements to safety. The store’s Friday reopening was met with mixed reactions, with some glad its doors were back open, and others saying the reopening was too soon. Some argued for tearing down the building altogether.