Sunday, September 25

Accused Tops shooter indicted on 27 federal counts


BUFFALO, NY (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 has undergone a series of changes. Inside, there is new paint and decor throughout. 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
  • an emergency evacuation alarm system
  • an additional emergency exit
  • 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

A number of memorials have been installed, as well. Inside the store entrance is a “water wall” with a poem by Buffalo Poet Laureate Jillian Hanesworth. Respecting the requests of some of the victims’ loved ones, victims’ names are not included on the memorial.

Tops also collaborated with a local artist collective for a streetside art exhibit, and they’re working with the community to create a permanent public memorial/remembrance area outside the store at Jefferson and Landon.

Other changes to the outside of the store include the following:

  • new store facade and signage
  • new pylon sign at Jefferson Avenue, along with new enter/exit signage
  • new landscaping
  • new covered cart corrals
  • enclosed exterior area for shoppers
  • repaired parking lot
  • Adinkra symbols at the entrance and exit representing hospitality/welcome, peace/harmony and farewell
  • new fence along neighbor’s property line with LED lighting
  • new high-capacity reverse recycling bottle, can and glass vending machines
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The store will reopen on Friday.

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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