The Student News Site of State University of New York at Brockport

The Stylus

The Stylus

The Stylus

Buffalo market shooter receives life sentence  

(Photo Credit: Erie County District Attorney’s Office)

White supremacist Payton Gendron, 19, was sentenced to life in prison without parole Feb. 15 for opening fire and murdering 10 Black people at a Buffalo Tops Friendly Markets on May 14, 2022.   

This shooting took place last May in a predominantly Black area of Buffalo where Gendron had livestreamed the first few minutes of this attack on Twitch before it was shut down. Although he initially pleaded “not guilty” on May 19, 2022, Gendron pleaded guilty later that year to all state charges in the shooting. These charges include 10 counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder, one count of domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate and a weapons possession charge.   

Buffalo Tops market two weeks after the shooting. (Photo Credit: Lisa Summerour)

“I shot and killed people because they were Black,” Gendron said. “Looking back now, I can’t believe I actually did it. I believed what I read online and acted out of hate. I know I can’t take it back, but I wish I could, and I don’t want anyone to be inspired by me and what I did.”  

Gendron has pleaded not guilty to federal hate crimes charges, which could lead to a death penalty if found guilty.   

Federally, he faces 10 counts of hate crime resulting in death, 10 counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a violent crime, three counts of hate crime involving bodily injury and three counts of use and discharge of a firearm during a violent crime, according to a criminal complaint.  

The day of the shooting, Gendron showed up to the Buffalo market with an illegally modified semi-automatic rifle, started his livestream and began his massacre. According to Buffalo police, he was equipped with a tactical helmet and plated armor at the time. He shot four people outside the store and continued his attack inside, shooting an armed security guard and eight other victims. Only three victims survived, burdened with survivor’s guilt.  

Prior to the shooting, Gendron had visited this supermarket and several other locations to plan his attack, which he had posted about on social media. He had chosen this specific location after discovering that its zip code (14208) has the highest population of Black people near where he lived.   

For SUNY Brockport sophomore Nate Hazard, Gendron’s life sentence changes nothing.  

“I’ve lived in Buffalo my entire life, and I’d have to assume I’m in the majority of those who weren’t surprised by this. The apathy on the lawmakers’ part in this country shocks me as someone who wants to see our country move in a more positive direction,” Hazard said.  

Brockport freshman Maryam Nor was also born and raised in Buffalo. For her, everything changed after the Buffalo shooting.  

“I still remember the day it happened,” Nor said. “I still remember the amount of shock I had as I learned more and more details about his plan. I couldn’t help but feel numb. You always hear about mass shootings in America, but it feels different when it actually happens in your hometown. It feels real.”   

Nor’s counselor’s aunt, Pearl Young, was one of the victims killed in the deadly shooting.   

“I was in utter shock when I found out. Even though he received a life sentence, that can’t take back the lives that were lost, and it can’t take back what we all went through,” Nor said.  

Out of the 13 people Gendron shot, only three survived. His victims ranged in age from 32 to 86-years-old and include a church deacon, a man shopping for a birthday cake and a grandmother of nine.  

During the hearing, relatives of Gendron’s victims spoke about how his actions affected them. Many asked for him to receive life in prison rather than the death penalty, leaving the shooter to think about his actions for the rest of his life. During one of the testimonies, Gendron took off his glasses and began crying.  

Barbara Massey, the sister of 72-year-old Katherine Massey who was killed in the shooting, expressed her hatred for Gendron.  

“I want personally to choke you. Your little punk ass decided to come here to kill Black people,” Massey said.  

As she was giving her statement, her son charged at Gendron. The man was quickly restrained by security and taken out of the courtroom. Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn said the man will not be charged for this, as emotions were already high.   

Some condemned Gendron for his violence and racist ideologies while others quoted from the Bible to pray for him. Many of the victims’ families made a point of how he deliberately looked for and attacked a Black community far from his nearly all-white hometown.   

“There can be no mercy for you, no understanding, no second chances,” Erie County Court Judge Susan Eagan said during the sentencing.   

According to CNN, after court was adjourned, several Buffalo officials and families questioned the genuineness of Gendron’s apology to the families of the victims.   

“I was happy to see him scared today. He should be able to feel what those families felt that day when he pointed that gun in their faces. That is how he should feel all day, every day,” Zeneta Everhart, whose son was shot and injured by Gendron in this attack, said.  

As of Feb. 22, Gendron is still awaiting federal charges. 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Stylus

Your donation will support the student journalists of State University of New York at Brockport. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Cambrie Eckert, News Editor
Donate to The Stylus

Comments (0)

All The Stylus Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *