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Payton S. Gendron sentenced for Tops shooting


Wed, Feb 15th 2023 04:50 pm

Broome County teen to serve life in prison without parole for killing 10 victims and attempting to kill 3 others in racially motivated rampage shooting attack at Buffalo supermarket

√ Defendant is first person to be convicted of New York State Penal Law 490.28, ‘domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate in the first degree’

√ DA: Planned attack against African American civilians last May

Submitted on behalf of the Erie County District Attorney’s Office

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announced 19-year-old Payton S. Gendron of Conklin, New York, was sentenced to life in prison without parole, on Wednesday morning before Erie County Court Judge Susan Eagan.

On Saturday, May 14, 2022, at approximately 2:30 p.m., the defendant, with the intent to cause the death or attempt to cause the death of five or more people based on the race or perceived race of such persons, drove to Tops Friendly Markets on Jefferson Avenue in the City of Buffalo to commit a mass shooting.

The defendant, who was wearing tactical gear and armed with an assault weapon, encountered several people in the parking lot. The defendant intentionally shot four people outside of the grocery store. Three of the victims died from their injuries. The fourth victim was injured by gunfire, but survived.

After the initial shooting outside of the store, the defendant entered the supermarket and exchanged gunfire with an armed security guard who attempted to stop the attack. The security guard was fatally injured and died at the scene. While inside of the store, the defendant intentionally shot eight more people. Six victims died from their injuries. Two victims were injured by gunfire, but survived.

The defendant was quickly apprehended by Buffalo Police officers who responded to the scene within two minutes of the initial 911 call. The defendant was taken into custody without further incident.

Payton S. Gendron (Submitted photo)


On Nov. 28, 2022, Gendron pleaded guilty to the highest charges in the indictment against him. Gendron pleaded guilty, as charged, to the following offenses:

√ One count of domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate in the first degree (class “A-I” felony)

√ Ten counts of murder in the first degree (class “A-I” felonies)

√ Three counts of attempted murder in the second degree as a hate crime (class “A-I” felonies)

√ One count of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree (class “C” violent felony)

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn said, “After selecting our city as the target of his terror attack, this defendant shot innocent African American citizens as they were shopping for groceries on a Saturday afternoon. Violence, especially violence motivated by hate, will not be tolerated. We sought to obtain justice for the victims and our community by prosecuting this defendant to the fullest extent of the law. Today, I am pleased to announce that Payton Gendron will be spending the rest of his life behind bars. While we may never fully heal from this horrific crime, I continue to pray for all who have been impacted by this tragedy.”

Flynn commended the Buffalo Police Department for its work in this investigation, with special acknowledgement to Lt. Patrick McDonald and officers Ann Devaney, Anthony D’Agostino and Christina Ihle, who arrived first at the scene of this crime. Flynn also recognized the Erie County Sheriff’s Office; New York State Police; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and all of the other assisting local, state and federal law enforcement agencies for their work in this extensive investigation.

Flynn lauded the work of his office’s homicide/victim witness protection case manager, Kimberly Rapp, for providing ongoing support to the families of the 10 victims and the three survivors throughout the prosecution of this case. Flynn also commended Chief Danielle D’Abate of the community prosecution/training unit for her work in community initiatives following this tragedy.

Flynn noted the numerous government agencies, community organizations and volunteers who helped people in the community impacted by this shooting and the temporary closure of the Tops Friendly Markets store.

The case was prosecuted by Chief Gary W. Hackbush of the homicide unit, Chief John P. Feroleto of the major crimes unit, Assistant District Attorney Justin H. Caldwell of the narcotics/intelligence unit, Assistant District Attorney Noha A. Elnakib of the special victims/domestic violence bureau, and Assistant District Attorney Ryan D. Haggerty of the homicide unit.

Speakers at the sentencing included Kimberly Salter, wife of Aaron Salter; Simone Crawley, granddaughter of Ruth Whitfield; Wayne Jones, son of Celestine Chaney; Leslie VanGiesen, mother of Roberta Drury; Tamika Harper, niece of Geraldine Talley; Barbara Mapps, sister of Katherine Massey; Zeneta Everhart, mother of Zaire Goodman; Stephanie Waters, sister of Jennifer Warrington; Christopher Braden; Brian Talley, brother-in-law of Geraldine Talley; Michelle Spight, niece of Pearl Young and cousin of Margus Morrison (read letter from Young’s daughter, Pamela Pritchett, as well as letter from Morrison’s brother, Fred); Deja Brown, daughter of Andre Mackniel; and Vyonne Elliott, brother of Andre Mackniel.

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