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DOJ charges Buffalo gunman with hate crimes, and says he apologized to a white victim

Investigators work the scene last month after the mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y.
Matt Rourke
Investigators work the scene last month after the mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y.

Payton Gendron is now facing numerous counts of federal hate crimes and weapons charges related to the May 14 deadly assault on a Tops grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y., the Justice Department announced on Wednesday.

Gendron is accused of killing 10 Black people, and wounding three other people — one Black person and two white people.

The federal complaint lists 26 criminal counts against Gendron, 18, including 10 counts of a hate crime resulting in death.

The complaint alleges that Gendron's "motive for the mass shooting was to prevent Black people from replacing white people and eliminating the white race, and to inspire others to commit similar attacks. "

The gunman live-streamed his actions on the internet.

The federal complaint gives a new account of Gendron's movements through the store, up and down its aisles. It also alleges that he apologized to at least one of his white victims:

"After Gendron killed Victim 7, he turned and aimed his rifle at a white male Tops employee ("Victim 8"), who, at some point during the attack, had been shot in the leg and injured. Rather than shooting him, Gendron said, "sorry," to Victim 8, before moving on through the rest of the store in search of more Black people to shoot and kill. At some point during the attack, one of the shots also struck a white female Tops employee ("Victim 9") in the pharmacy area of the store, which is located near the checkout lanes. Victims 8 and 9 survived the attack."

Gendron is scheduled to be arraigned on the new charges in federal court at 10:30 a.m. ET Thursday morning.
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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.