Mass Shooting in New York – Most Recent Hate Crime in the U.S.
May 17, 2022 Don Pumphrey, Jr. News & Announcements, Violent Crimes Social Share
This past Saturday marked a horrific mass shooting in Buffalo, New York. The suspect was an 18-year-old man who supposedly held racist motives for driving over three hours to open fire on a local supermarket.
Disturbing statements from the alleged shooter were supposedly filled with hate, directed specifically towards the Black community. In addition, the shooter had been studying previous hate crimes and mass shootings. An online manifesto was also published before the shooting by the alleged gunman and was filled with hateful comments.
After police were able to stop the gunman, a total of thirteen people had been shot—ranging from 20 to 86 in age. Eleven people were black, with only two white people getting shot. Ten victims, unfortunately, passed from the shooting, with three going into the hospital for recovery. As of now, the shooter remains alive and in the custody of the New York Police, under a suicide watch.
We will cover how such a hateful and tragic incident occurred, what could have led up to the shooting, and the charges the alleged shooter now faces.
The tragedy took place at the Buffalo, New York supermarket Tops Friendly Market on May 14th, 2022. The suspect is 18-year-old Payton Gendron, who drove over 200 miles from his hometown in Conklin, New York.
At around 2:30 pm, Gendron stepped out of his car fully dressed in tactical gear. He was carrying an assault-style rifle and started open firing in the parking lot. The first round of shots hit four people, killing three of them.
Gendron was confronted by the store’s security guard, who attempted to stop the shooter with his gun, but Gendron was shielded by his body armor and subsequently shot and killed the guard. Gendron was live-streaming the attack on Twitch, but the feed was taken down by the company less than two minutes after the shooting began.
Gendron was finally surrounded by police who arrived at the scene at the front of the grocery store. Gendron pointed the rifle at his neck, but authorities eventually talked him into dropping the weapon. Gendron surrendered and was taken in by the police to the Buffalo Police Department.
In total, thirteen people were shot at Tops Friendly Market. Ten out of the thirteen victims died, leaving the remaining three in the hospital. Gendron has since been charged with first-degree murder, and if convicted he would face life without parole. Police believe that the mass shooting was racially motivated and are also considering a terrorism charge.
Terrorism Charges in Florida
Since the mass shooting took place in New York, the first-degree charges Gendron is facing would give him a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole. Had the shooting taken place in Florida, Gendron would be facing a potential death penalty.
When it comes to terrorism charges, the public usually considers violent crimes from members outside of the United States. However, under Florida Statute Section 775, terrorism is defined as a violent act or an act dangerous to human life which is a violation of the criminal laws of this state of the United States.
In addition, Florida Statute Section 836.10 covers written or electronic threats to kill, inflict bodily harm, or conduct a mass shooting or act of terrorism. Florida law makes it illegal for anyone to post, send, or transmit any of the following:
- A threat to kill or do bodily harm to another person; or
- A threat to conduct a mass shooting or act of terrorism.
To read more about written threats in Florida, you can find our blog here.
While New York has different state statutes from Florida, we will continue to watch the case to see if Gendron will be charged with terrorism along with first-degree murder.
Previous Concerns with the Shooter
The Tops Market shooting is not the first violent concern coming from Gendron. In fact, the gunman had supposedly threatened his high school last June in the town of Conklin, New York. The threat of a school shooting was general and not directed at any specific person or place, according to authorities. However, Gendron was taken to a hospital and reviewed.
According to Buffalo Police commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said, “The state police responded. They investigated. They interviewed the subject. And they felt at the time it was appropriate to have that individual brought in for a mental health evaluation.” After only a day and a half in the hospital, Gendron was released.
Since Gendron was taken in by the police after the shooting, there is also a discussion of a 180-page 4chan post with a racist manifesto. The document was allegedly written by Gendron and has been obtained by the police for evaluation. According to the document, Tops Friendly Market was chosen due to its predominantly Black ZIP code. Based on the Census Bureau from 2020, that specific zip code is 78% Black, the highest Black population in all of upstate New York.
County District Attorney John J. Flynn has a news release after the mass shooting. Flynn addressed the so-called “manifesto” and how the police are currently looking for clues within the online post:
“We are obviously going through that with a fine-toothed comb and reviewing that for all evidence that may lead us to besides the manifesto itself. All the evidence that we ascertain from that manifesto, from wherever that manifesto leads us, other pieces of evidence we already had, we can then use that and develop more charges potentially.”
The author of the online manifesto attributes the internet to his beliefs and describes himself as a fascist, a White supremacist, and an anti-Semite. In addition, Gendron supposedly gained an interest in these beliefs during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Part of the manifesto focuses on the “White genocide” theory that has recently become a talking point by prominent conservatives, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson. This “replacement theory” assumes that the White population has been dwindling because of the replacement of non-Whites.
FBI agent Stephen Belongia of Buffalo said of the case, “We continue to investigate this case as a hate crime, a federal hate crime and as a crime perpetrated by a racially motivated, violent extremist.”
Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia strongly believes that the mass shooting was a hate crime. He gave the following comment regarding the shooting: “The evidence we have uncovered so far makes no mistake. This is an absolute racist hate crime that will be prosecuted as a hate crime. This is someone who has hate in their heart, soul, and mind.”
In addition, the Governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, has announced that $2.8 million in federal and state funding will go toward the victims and their families. Hochul posted the following statement from her office:
“The past 24 hours have been traumatizing for New Yorkers, and my administration will spare no effort to ensure the victims of this act of terrorism by a white supremacist are receiving all the resources and support they need. The entire world is watching how we will come together as New Yorkers to overcome this unthinkable tragedy. Buffalo, my hometown, is the City of Good Neighbors and New York State will be good neighbors for them.”
The grocery store Tops Markets has also issued a statement about the shooting. They are planning to provide free transportation for grocery and pharmacy needs to members of the community in Buffalo who have been affected by the shooting. In a thread of tweets posted by the company, they addressed that the Tops on Jefferson Avenue will be closed until further notice.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, the Buffalo Tops Market shooting is now the 198th shooting in the 2022 year, and it is marked as the most deadly thus far. Gun Violence Archives defines a mass shooting as four or more people being shot.
Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida
It is always difficult to read about mass shootings in any state in the U.S. Even though the incident happened outside of Florida, it is important to mention the case and the ongoing issue of gun violence in America.
If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime in Florida, you should prioritize finding a skilled defense attorney in your area. Don Pumphrey and his legal team at Pumphrey Law Firm have represented clients all across Florida for various crimes. Call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message today for a free consultation.
Written by Karissa Key