Payton Gendron was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the 2022 shooting at a Buffalo supermarket (Picture: AP)
The man responsible for shooting and killing 10 black people at a supermarket in May 2022 was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday.
Payton Gendron, 19, pleaded guilty on charges of domestic terrorism motivated by hate, 10 counts of murder, and three counts of attempted murder after entering a Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, New York.
Before his sentencing, Judge Susan Eagan gave victims and their family members time to read statements or address Gendron directly.
Gendron sat with his head down while listening to the victims. The self-radicalized white supremacist silently cried as they spoke about their dead family members.
Tensions flared when during Barbara Massey Mapps, the sister of 72-year-old victim Katherine Massey, read her victim impact statement.
‘Kat would do anything for anybody at anytime. Kat was intelligent, she was teacher, she was my best friend,’ Mapps said.
‘You’re gonna come to our city and say “I don’t like black people.” Man, you don’t know a damn thing about black people,’ she said.
In the middle of Mapps’ emotional testimony, a man from the audience pushed her aside and lunged at Gendron, who was rushed out of the courtroom by deputies.
Erie County Court Judge Susan Eagan sentences Payton Gendron (Picture: REUTERS)
After he was restrained, Judge Eagan said no charges would be filed against him.
Wayne Jones Sr, the son of victim Celestine Chaney, told Gendron he was ‘brainwashed’ by white supremacist ideology.
‘You don’t even know black people that much to hate them. You learned this on the internet, and it was a big mistake.’
After the attack, Gendron admitted that he picked the location because it was the zip code with the highest percentage of black residents near his small hometown of Conklin, New York.
Payton Gendron is escorted out of the courtroom after he was sentenced to life in prison without parole (Picture: REUTERS)
Other victims spoke about experiencing survivor’s guilt and post-traumatic stress.
‘The visions haunt me in my sleep and every day,’ said Christopher Braden, a supermarket employee who was shot but survived the attack.
Zeneta Everhart, the mother of injured victim Zaire Everhart, testified on his behalf. ‘He is dealing with the pain that I as a mother cannot bear,’ she said of his guilt and
Gendron also read a brief statement, apologizing to his victims:
‘I am very sorry for all the pain I forced the victims and their families to suffer through. I am very sorry for stealing the lives of your loved ones. I cannot express how much I regret all the decisions I made leading up to my actions on May 14.’
‘I did a terrible thing that day. I shot and killed people because they were Black. Looking back now, I can’t believe I actually did it. I believed what I read online and acted out of hate. I know I can’t take it back, but I wish I could, and I don’t want anyone to be inspired by me and what I did.’
The shooter’s statement did little to lighten his sentence. Judge Eagan chose not to sentence Gendron as a youthful offender, and instead gave him life in prison without the possibility for parole.
‘There is no place for you or your ignorant, hateful, and evil ideologies in a civilized society,’ Eagan said. ‘There can be no mercy for you – no understanding, no second chances. The damage you have caused is too great, and the people you have hurt are too valuable to this community. You will never see the light of day as a free man ever again.’