Gunman in Buffalo supermarket mass shooting who killed at least 10 to face death penalty

Payton Gendron entered a guilty plea to state charges of murder and hate-motivated domestic terrorism in the 2022 attack in Buffalo, and he is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

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Washington, D.C.: The 20-year-old man who killed 10 Black people in a live-streamed supermarket rampage in New York State, will face the death penalty from federal prosecutors in the United States, Al Jazeera reported. Payton Gendron entered a guilty plea to state charges of murder and hate-motivated domestic terrorism in the 2022 attack in Buffalo, and he is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Trini Ross, the US attorney for western New York, stated in a notice announcing the decision to pursue the death penalty that Gendron had chosen the grocery “in order to maximise the number of Black victims.” The notification listed a range of criteria for the decision, including the considerable preparation preceding the shooting and the decision to target at least one victim who was “particularly vulnerable due to old age and infirmity,” Al Jazeera reported.

Wearing thick body armour and carrying an AR-15 assault rifle, 18-year-old Gendron drove from his hometown of Conklin, which was more than 322 kilometres (200 miles) away, on May 14, 2022. The prosecutors said that before going inside the grocery store, he shot four people in the parking lot, three of them fatally. Along with wearing a helmet equipped with a camera, Gendron broadcast the two-minute assault live on Twitch.

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Eight customers, the store security officer, and a church deacon who took customers to and from the store with their supplies were among the deceased, whose ages ranged from 32 to 86. Three were hurt, but they made it out alive, according to Al Jazeera. Notably, the US has been prone to mass shootings and excessive gun violence lately and people of the country have repeatedly protested for stricter gun laws.

Federal death penalty prosecutions have been rare since US President Joe Biden took office four years ago, according to the Department of Justice, reported Al Jazeera. Joe Biden had promised during his campaign earlier to back legislation that would abolish the death penalty. After that, the Justice Department under Attorney General Merrick Garland allowed the prosecution of two cases to continue to the death penalty and stopped pursuing the death penalty in over twenty cases.

In 2021, Garland also imposed a suspension on federal executions while processes were reviewed.