US supermarket shooter charged with federal hate crimes

AFP

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Evangelist Bruce Warrick performs a baptism outside of Tops grocery store on May 20, 2022 in Buffalo, New York, United States.
SPENCER PLATT / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFPEvangelist Bruce Warrick performs a baptism outside of Tops grocery store on May 20, 2022 in Buffalo, New York, United States.

'Gendron's motive for the mass shooting was to prevent black people from replacing white people'

The US Justice Department announced federal hate crimes charges Tuesday against Payton Gendron, the 18-year-old who shot dead 10 African Americans at a Buffalo, New York supermarket in May.

The charges say Gendron was motivated by racist hate when, on May 14, he took a semi-automatic assault weapon to a grocery store in a predominantly black neighborhood of Buffalo and killed ten people while wounding three others.

They said he was driven by belief in a conspiracy theory called "The Great Replacement" - minorities threaten white people's lives and communities - a view Gendron espoused in a lengthy document posted online before his attack.

"Gendron's motive for the mass shooting was to prevent black people from replacing white people and eliminating the white race, and to inspire others to commit similar attacks," the charges said.

He planned his attack in detail for months, according to the charges, and he specifically targeted a heavily African-American community, mapping out the popular Tops supermarket there.

He said in his manifesto that he intended to "kill as many blacks as possible."

The federal hate crime charges carry the death penalty or up to life in prison.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the charges on a visit to Buffalo, where he met with family members of those killed.

"Hate-fueled acts of violence terrorize not only the individuals who are all attacked but entire communities," Garland said.

"We fully recognize the threat that hatred and violent extremism pose to the safety of the American people and American democracy," he said.

On June 1, Gendron was charged by New York state with domestic terrorism and ten counts of first-degree murder.

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