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DOJ seeks death penalty in case against Buffalo mass shooting gunman

The defense said the gunman would plead guilty to federal charges if prosecutors wouldn't seek the death penalty.
Vigil for mass shooting victims.
Posted at 12:31 PM, Jan 12, 2024

The United States Department of Justice will seek the death penalty in the federal case against the Buffalo mass shooting gunman Payton Gendron, according to court documents.

The documents were filed just before noon on Friday, ahead of a scheduled status conference in the case.

The gunman killed 10 people and injured three others in a racially motivated mass shooting on May 14, 2022, at a Tops Friendly Markets store in Buffalo.

In February 2023, Gendron, now 20 years old, was sentenced to life without parole on the state charges he faced in connection to the shooting. He pleaded guilty to those charges in November 2022, which included one count of first-degree domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate. Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said the gunman was the first person in New York State to be indicted and convicted on that specific charge.

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In the federal case, the gunman faces 27 counts, which include hate crime and firearm charges. In December 2022, the defense attorneys representing him said that he would be prepared to plead guilty to the federal charges under similar terms to his plea on the state charges if the government did not seek the death penalty.

This article was originally published by Anthony Reyes for Scripps News Buffalo.