Buffalo shooting suspect indicted for 27 hate crimes

Tops Friendly Market reopens two months after massacre allegedly prompted by racism

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The suspect accused of fatally shooting 10 black people in a racism-inspired attack at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, was charged with 27 federal hate crimes, the US Justice Department announced.

Authorities said the suspect, who livestreamed the massacre, is an alleged white supremacist who targeted the shop because it was patronised mainly by black people. Authorities said the man travelled more than three hours from his home in Conklin, New York to carry out the attack.

“The Justice Department fully recognises the threat that white supremacist violence poses to the safety of the American people and American democracy,” US Attorney General Merrick Garland said.

Tops Friendly Market reopened on Friday, two months after the shooting, as residents grapple with the timing of the reopening.

“We’re pretty much shopping on people’s blood,” Count Horne, an activist and retired Buffalo police officer, told the Associated Press.

“I think that this is more about putting people to work rather than letting them heal. Just two months ago, these people were running for their lives.”

If convicted, Payton Gendron could face life in prison or the death penalty. Prosecutors must inform the court prior to trial if they are seeking a death sentence.

The suspect, who was 18 years old on the day of the shooting, already faces 10 counts of first-degree murder and 10 counts of second-degree murder.

He pleaded not guilty in parallel state and federal cases.

Tops president John Persons said that the management team was confident that the store, which is a hub of activity in the neighbourhood, was needed by area residents.

“I’ll be honest, those are the people that we really wanted to listen to, the people that were in the neighbourhood, the people that were in the Jefferson Avenue neighbourhood and the immediate community to find out what their thoughts were,” Mr Persons said.

Mr Persons said everything "from the floor to the ceiling" has been renovated.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said the supermarket's reopening was a step forward in the community's healing process.

"It is important to move forward as a united and strong community. We will not let hate win," he said.

Tops said it is working with community leaders to create a permanent memorial outside the store.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Updated: July 15, 2022, 4:56 PM