The defendant accused of livestreaming the mass murder of 10 Black people and of injuring three others in Buffalo, New York this past weekend has been indicted by a grand jury, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn announced on Thursday.
A scheduled Thursday morning court appearance for defendant Payton S. Gendron, 18, of Conklin, New York, proceeded in truncated fashion. The bulk of the scheduled discussion was mostly pushed back to June 9 to allow time for additional grand jury proceedings, according to a statement by the DA’s office.
“The felony hearing scheduled to occur this morning before Buffalo City Court Judge Craig D. Hannah has been adjourned pursuant to New York State Criminal Procedure Law Article 180.80 due to action of the Grand Jury,” Flynn said. “The defendant continues to remain held without bail. At this time, the defendant remains charged with one count of Murder in the First Degree in Buffalo City Court.”
“As indicated by prosecutors in Court this morning, the Grand Jury has voted to indict the defendant,” Flynn said. “The Grand Jury investigation has not been completed. Our office cannot comment further until there is an indictment reported to the Court following a complete investigation by the Grand Jury.”
“Payton, you’re a coward!” someone yelled at the defendant in court.
Flynn again reminded the public that the defendant must be “presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”
The DA has employed the commonplace refrain as if to stem the deluge caused by the prolific nature of the livestreamed shooting and a nearly 200-page manifesto that by all official accounts was posted by the defendant to evince his desire to commit hate crimes.
“He wrote he targeted the Buffalo supermarket because it had the highest concentration of Black people in upstate New York and said he subscribed to ‘replacement theory,’ a conspiracy theory that claims a cabal of elites are trying to replace White people with non-White immigrants,” CNN reported.
In posts shared to the websites Discord and 4Chan, “Gendron said he visited the grocery store multiple times on March 8 to learn its layout,” CNN continued. “He noted how many Black and White people shopped during his visits and drew a map of the store’s interior, according to his posts.”
City leaders told CNN on Thursday that the FBI has completed its investigation at the supermarket where the shooting occurred.
All of the victims killed in the mass shooting were Black. Three more people, one Black and two white, were wounded.
The Associated Press reported that Gendron made his attack plans available to a small group of others on Discord shortly before the Saturday afternoon killings.
“What we know at this time is that a private, invite-only server was created by the suspect to serve as a personal diary chat log,” Discord said in a statement provided to the AP. “Approximately 30 minutes prior to the attack, however, a small group of people were invited to and joined the server. Before that, our records indicate no other people saw the diary chat log in this private server.”
“Our deepest sympathies are with the victims and their families,” the company continued. “Hate has no place on Discord and we are committed to combating violence and extremism.”
Coverage of the brief Thursday court hearing is below:
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