Buffalo gunman pleads not guilty to federal hate crime charges

Memorial of victims of Buffalo shooting.
(Image credit: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

Payton Gendron, the gunman charged with killing 10 Black people in a racially-motivated shooting at a Buffalo supermarket in May, pleaded not guilty to federal hate crime charges at an arraignment on Monday, The Associated Press reports.

Gendron was "indicted last week on hate crimes and weapons counts," AP writes, and his plea was entered in court by his attorney, "who said she hoped to resolve the case before trial." The 27-count federal indictment includes 10 counts of hate crimes resulting in death and 13 counts of using a firearm in a hate crime, among other charges.

The Department of Justice has yet to issue a decision on whether it will seek the death penalty against Gendron, who is believed to have driven over three hours to a Tops Supermarket in a predominatly Black neighborhood with the goal of killing "as many Black people as possible," AP writes. Investigators have said he was motivated by white supremacist beliefs.

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In June, the gunman also plead not guilty to hate-motivated domestic terrorism and murder charges at the state level. "There is overwhelming proof of the defendant's guilt," Assistant District Attorney John Fereleto said at the time. "The defendant was caught at the scene of the crime with the weapon in his hands."

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