The white man accused of slaughtering 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket was scheduled to appear in court Thursday as authorities including the FBI continue to investigate the possibility of hate crime and terrorism charges.
Payton Gendron, 18, livestreamed the attack from a helmet camera before surrendering to police outside the grocery store. Shortly before the attack last Saturday, he posted hundreds of pages of writings to online discussion groups where he detailed his plans for the assault and his racist motivation.
Investigators have been examining those documents, which included a private diary he kept on the chat platform Discord.
The Buffalo community is mourning after a shooting at grocery store left ten people dead and three others injured.
At his initial court appearance last week, the suspect’s court-appointed lawyer entered a plea of “not guilty” on his behalf.
The massacre at the Tops supermarket was unsettling even in a nation that has become numb to mass shootings. All but two of the 13 of the people shot during the attack were Black. The accused gunman’s online writings said he planned the assault after becoming infatuated with white supremacist ideology he encountered online.
The diary said the suspect planned his attack in secret, with no outside help, but Discord confirmed Wednesday that an invitation to access his private writings was sent to a small group of people about 30 minutes before the assault began.
Some of them accepted the invitation. It was unclear how many read what he had written or logged on to view the assault live. It also wasn’t clear whether anyone tried to alert law enforcement.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia has said investigators were working to obtain, verify and review the suspect’s online postings.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday authorized the state’s attorney general, Letitia James, to investigate social media platforms used by the suspect to determine if they were liable for “providing a platform to plan and promote violence.”
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden offered their condolences to the families of those killed and injured in a racism-fueled mass shooting on Sunday. “In America, evil will not win, I promise you. Hate will not prevail and white supremacy will not have the last word.”
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