FBI agents gather at the site of the shooting at a Tops Friendly Market grocery store in Buffalo, New York, USA, on May 15. Photo by Brandon Watson/EPA-EFE
Feb. 15 (UPI) — The teen who shot and killed 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket in May was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Wednesday.
Payton Gendron, 19, pleaded guilty to 15 charges in November after he opened fire inside Tops Friendly Market in a racist attack. He killed 10 people and injured three others.
The families of those who lost their lives had a chance to address Gendron before his sentencing, Buffalo News reported.
“I’ll never forgive you,” said Deja Brown, the daughter of Andre Mackniel, who was killed in the attack. “It wasn’t my dad’s time to go.”
Ruth Whitfield’s granddaughter, Simone Crowley, said that her family would continue to honor her grandmother’s legacy.
“Our dear grandmother, Ruth Elizabeth Whitfield, she taught us the power of love and, even in our darkest hour, we will assure that her legacy will be that,” she said.
Wayne Jones, whose mother Celestine Chaney was killed, said that Gendron had been brainwashed into hating Black people.
“I have a child your age,” he said. “You’ve been brainwashed. The Internet is the issue. You’re only 18. You don’t even know Black people that much to hate them. You learned this on the Internet.”
The attack marked the first time a defendant in New York was found guilty of murder charges motivated by hate.
Gendron live-streamed his shooting on May 14 while armed with a semi-automatic AR-15. Federal and local prosecutors said despite efforts to purge it from the Internet, copies still manage to pop up.
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said Gendron illegally modified his weapon and wrote 180 pages of racist statements that also showed his admiration for other mass shooters.
Erie County Judge Susan Eagan said that the crime was too great for a second chance.
“There is no place for your hateful and evil ideology in a civilized society. There can be no mercy, no understanding, no second chances. The damage caused is too great. You will never see the light of day as a free man again.”