Buffalo mass shooting suspect Payton Gendron pleads guilty to all state charges

Payton Gendron opened fire in May at Tops grocery store, killing 10

Payton Gendron, the White man accused of killing 10 Black people and wounding three others in a hate-fueled shooting attack in Buffalo, New York earlier this year, has pleaded guilty Monday to all the state charges facing him.

Gendron pleaded guilty to all the charges in the grand jury indictment, including murder, murder as a hate crime, and hate-motivated domestic terrorism, which carries an automatic sentence of life without parole –- following the May attack at a Tops Market grocery store in a predominantly Black Buffalo neighborhood. Gendron also pleaded guilty to wounding three people who survived the attack.

"Today, our client pled guilty to every count of the indictment with the full knowledge that he will spend the rest of his life in prison with no chance of parole," Gendron's attorney Brian Parker said following the guilty plea. "Though the federal case continues his actions today ensure that there will be no state court trial and he will not appeal." 

"This critical step represents a condemnation of the racist ideology that fueled his horrific actions on May 14," Parker added. "Before he is sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, on February 15, the surviving victims and deceased victims family members will all have an opportunity to address the court, the community and our client directly."

Payton Gendron is seen in a booking photo from May 15, 2022

Payton Gendron is seen in a booking photo from May 15, 2022 (Erie County District Attorney)

"It is our hope that a final resolution of the state charges will help in some small way to keep the focus on the needs of the victims and the community, because there is still further litigation regarding these events," Parker also said.

Gendron faces separate federal hate crime charges that could carry the death penalty. 

Authorities said Gendron drove about three hours to Buffalo from his home in Conklin, New York, to carry out the shooting. Shortly before opening fire with an AR-15-style rifle on May 14, he posted documents that outlined his White supremacist views and revealed he had been planning the attack for months.  

Gendron, who was handcuffed and wore an orange jumpsuit, showed little emotion through the 45-minute proceeding, according to The Associated Press. He answered "yes" and "guilty" as the judge referred to each victim by name and asked whether he killed each victim because of their race.

Buffalo shooting suspect, Payton Gendron is escorted in the courtroom in shackles, in Buffalo, New York, on May 19.

Buffalo shooting suspect, Payton Gendron is escorted in the courtroom in shackles, in Buffalo, New York, on May 19. (Brendan McDermid)

Immediate relatives of the victims were joined by Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and the police commissioner in the gallery.

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The victims, who ranged in age from 32 to 86, included eight customers, a store security guard, and a church deacon who drove shoppers to and from the store with their groceries. Three people were wounded but survived.  

A person walks past the scene of a shooting at a supermarket, in Buffalo, N.Y., on May 14, 2022.

A person walks past the scene of a shooting at a supermarket, in Buffalo, N.Y., on May 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

"He pled guilty to the domestic state terrorism charge, motivated by hate. That is a relatively new statute in our penal law that was enacted within the past ten years. It has never been used before in the state of New York. No individual in the history of the state of New York has been found guilty of that domestic terrorism charge motivated by hate," said Erie County District Attorney John Flynn. "Until today. And he pled guilty to that highest charge today. He also pled guilty to all the first degree murder charges. All ten counts."

Fox News' Marta Dhanis, Michael Ruiz, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.