Buffalo mass shooting suspect indicted on federal hate, firearms charges

July 14 (Reuters) – A federal grand jury on Thursday charged a white man accused in the fatal shooting of 10 Black people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, with 27 counts of hate crimes and firearms violations, the U.S. Justice Department announced.

Authorities said he targeted the store because it was a hub in the predominantly Black tight-knit neighborhood.

The indictment came less than an hour before community members planned to gather at the Tops Friendly Markets store – the site of the shooting – for a moment of silence and prayer tocommemorate the two-month anniversary of the May 14 attack.

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The store, which has since been fully renovated, is set to reopen on Friday.

Ten days after the massacre, a mass shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas, left 19 children and two teachers dead. Seven weeks after the Buffalo massacre, seven people where shot dead at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois.

The attacks have reignited a longstanding national debate over U.S. gun laws.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said the Tops store reopening was a step forward in the community’s efforts to heal.

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

The federal indictment handed down on Thursday charged Payton Gendron, 19, on 14 hate crimes violations and 13 firearms offenses.

He also faces 10 counts of first-degree murder and 10 counts of second-degree murder in state court.

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Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago and Tyler Clifford in New York; Editing by Josie Kao and Chizu Nomiyama

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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