Live updates: Buffalo mass shooter to be sentenced on state charges
(News 4 is streaming the sentencing of the Buffalo mass shooter. Watch live coverage in the video player above.)
(Warning: This live coverage is uncensored. Vulgar language is possible.)
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The man who committed the racist act of violence against those inside the Jefferson Avenue Tops Friendly Markets location on May 14 will be sentenced on state charges Wednesday morning.
Payton Gendron, now 19, is expected to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. One of the 15 charges he pleaded guilty to in November, domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate, automatically carries that sentence.
On May 14 — nine months ago Tuesday — 10 people were killed and three others were injured when Gendron, a Broome County resident, opened fire inside the East Buffalo grocery store. Each person he killed was Black.
Here are the names of those who were killed in the act of domestic terrorism:
- Ruth Whitfield, 86
- Roberta Drury, 32
- Andre Mackniel, 53
- Aaron Salter, 55
- Heyward Patterson, 67
- Pearl Young, 77
- Katherine Massey, 72
- Margus Morrison, 52
- Geraldine Talley, 62
- Celestine Chaney, 65
In late November, Gendron admitted to the following state charges:
- domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate in the first degree
- murder in the first degree (10 counts)
- attempted murder in the second degree, as a hate crime (3 counts)
- criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, an armed felony
Gendron was the first person in New York to be indicted, as well as convicted, on the charge of domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate in the first degree. He had also been indicted on 10 counts of second-degree murder as a hate crime, but those counts were automatically dismissed due to his admission to the first-degree murder charges.
Gendron is expected to apologize for his actions at his sentencing after family members of the victims have a chance to share their victim impact statements. A family member whose mother was killed in the attack told News 4 he felt an apology would be an insincere attempt to avoid the death penalty in the federal case.
Wednesday morning’s sentencing began with those victim impact statements. Former Buffalo police officer Aaron Salter’s widow, Kimberly Salter, was the first to speak.
As those impacted read their statements, Gendron could be seen crying in court. Katherine Massey’s sister was the sixth to speak, and while she was behind the podium, a man could be seen lunging at Gendron.
The mass shooter was swiftly moved out of the room and proceedings were briefly paused. Judge Susan Eagan also left the room, returning minutes later.
As order was being restored, Gendron’s attorneys left the courtroom and Erie County District Attorney John Flynn entered to discuss what occurred with assistant district attorneys.
The judge, as she returned, asked for civil behavior in the courtroom, and requested that those who may be feeling a charge of potentially violent emotions to step out.
Before the shooter’s sentencing began Wednesday morning, legal analyst Chris Pannozzo joined us to discuss what’s expected in court. Hear what he shared with us in the video below:
In addition to the state charges, Gendron has also been indicted on 27 federal counts, including 10 counts of hate crimes resulting in death. If convicted in federal court, he could be sentenced to death. His next federal court appearance will take place on Thursday.
Gendron will not be sentenced to the death penalty Wednesday; that is only in play in the federal case against him.