The 18-year-old New York mass shooting suspect accused of killing 10 Black victims at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo on May 14 — in what U.S. officials are investigating as a hate crime — was confronted in an Erie County courtroom on Friday.
A grand jury indicted the White supremacist suspect, Payton Gendron, on a first-degree murder charge. He continues to be held in prison without bail.
"Payton, you’re a coward!" someone inside the courtroom yelled as Gendron, who was silent during Friday's proceeding, was escorted out.
The suspect has been charged with allegedly killing 10 people and wounding three others when he pulled up to the Tops grocery store on Jefferson Avenue around 2:30 p.m. Saturday and immediately began firing off shots.
Gendron appeared to have plans to unleash his horrific attack at the supermarket on May 13, around 4 p.m. — which he had determined was the busiest time of day, according to his 180-page manifesto. It’s unclear, then, why he instead allegedly executed his plans on Saturday, May 14.
The suspect was kicked out of the store the night before the shooting for agitating customers and allegedly cased the site again the next morning.
Gendron reportedly began visiting the location in March, well before making his plans or allegedly acting on them.
In the days since Saturday’s mass shooting, high-ranking law enforcement officials, including FBI Director Christopher Wray and U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, have undisputedly called the tragedy "a hate crime and an act of racially-motivated violent extremism." President Biden described the event as a domestic terror incident when he visited Buffalo on Tuesday.
The president named the 13 shooting victims, ten of whom died, and detailed their backgrounds as parents, grandparents, caretakers, a deacon, a retired police officer, a public school teacher and others whose lives were suddenly cut short in a hate-fueled attack.
The deceased victims of Saturday's mass shooting include Roberta A. Drury, 32; Margus D. Morrison, 52; Andre Mackneil of Auburn, 53; Aaron Salter, 55; Geraldine Talley, 62; Celestine Chaney, 65; Heyward Patterson, 67; Katherine Massey, 72; Pearl Young, 77; and Ruth Whitfield; 86.
Those who suffered non-life threatening injuries include Zaire Goodman, 20; Jennifer Warrington, 50; and Christopher Braden, 55.
Gendron will serve life in prison if he is convicted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.