Suspect of mass racist shooting at Buffalo supermarket faces federal charges for hate crimes

The charges against White’s suspect came as Attorney General Merrick Garland visited the site of the massacre and met with the families of the victims.

“No one in this country should have to live in fear of going to work or shopping at a grocery store and be attacked by someone who hates them for the color of their skin,” Garland said after meeting. with family members.

A criminal complaint filed by prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York stated that “Gendron’s motive for the mass shooting was to prevent blacks from replacing whites and eliminating whites, and to inspire others to commit similar things. attacks “. The complaint detailed Gendron’s extensive plans for the assault.

Gendron is accused of shooting 13 people between the ages of 20 and 86 at the Tops Friendly Market on May 14. Eleven were black and two were white, Buffalo police said.

The 18-year-old suspect is charged with 10 hate crimes that resulted in death, three hate crimes with bodily injury, 10 charges of using a firearm to commit murder during and in connection with a felony violent and three charges. of use and discharge of a firearm during a violent crime, according to a criminal complaint.

The last three charges carry the potential of the death penalty.

Garland, who has temporarily halted federal executions while the department reviews policies and procedures, should make a decision on whether to apply for the death penalty.

When asked if federal prosecutors will seek the death penalty in this case, Garland said, “The Justice Department has a number of procedures that follow … Families and survivors would be consulted.”

CNN has contacted Gendron’s attorneys for comment.

Garland, Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, and Deputy Attorney General for Civil Rights Kristen Clarke visited the monument adjacent to the supermarket on Wednesday for about 10 minutes. Garland placed 10 roses on the spot, one for each person killed.

“In the days and weeks after the attack, we have all witnessed the strength of this community’s bonds, its resilience and its love,” Garland told reporters. “I am humbled to have heard this first-hand in my discussions with families. Hate-fueled acts of violence terrify not only individuals who are being attacked, but entire communities. Hate causes immediate devastation and it causes lasting fear. “

A gunman planned an attack for years, according to the complaint

During a search of the gunman’s home, federal authorities found a laptop with a document containing a detailed plan of the attack he had allegedly been planning for years. The document said he “actually got serious” about the January aggression, according to the complaint.

In the document, Gendron allegedly called himself a white man “who seeks to protect and serve my community, my people, my culture and my race” and said he has never been diagnosed with a disability or mental disorder. He allegedly claimed that his goal was to kill “as many blacks as possible” and “avoid dying.”

In a handwritten note found by officers in his bedroom, Gendron apologized to his family for committing “this attack” and said he did so because he was concerned “about the future of the white race,” the complaint says. Officers also found a receipt in his bedroom for a candy bar purchased at Tops on March 8, along with apparent sketches of the store’s layout.

Authorities believe he visited the store several times, including the day before the attack and again two and a half hours before he allegedly started firing. The complaint stated that “it counted the number of black people present inside and outside the store.”

Hours before the shooting, according to the complaint, Gendron in the store “observed a” healthy amount of “black” elderly and young people.

During the attack, Gendron aimed a Bushmaster XM-15 rifle at a white supermarket employee who had already been shot in the leg, according to the complaint. Instead of shooting him, Gendron said “sorry” to that victim “before going through the rest of the store looking for more black people to shoot and kill,” according to the complaint.

The complaint described how several customers and employees “took refuge in a storage room, a conference room, a freezer and a dairy refrigerator” while others fled through a back door.

The gunman fired about 60 shots during the attack, according to the report.

On June 1, a New York grand jury returned an indictment of 25 charges against Gendron. He faces 10 counts of first-degree murder, 10 counts of second-degree murder as a hate crime and three counts of attempted murder as a hate crime, according to court documents. Gendron also faces a charge of domestic terrorism and a charge of weapons, according to court documents. He pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The suspect arrived at the supermarket on the afternoon of May 14 heavily armed and with tactical equipment, including a tactical helmet and silver armor, police said. He also had a camera that streamed his actions live.

With an assault weapon, the gunman shot four people outside the grocery store, killing three, authorities said.

When he entered the store, he exchanged fire with an armed security guard, who authorities said was a retired Buffalo police officer. The security guard died from his injuries. The suspect shot eight more people at the store, six of whom were killed.

The complaint stated that the rifle used in the assault had writings, including racial insults and the phrase “The Great Replacement”.

Gendron wrote that he selected the Buffalo zip code with the highest percentage of black people closest to where he lived, and a store with a large number of black people, according to the complaint.

CNN’s Laura Ly contributed to this report.

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