Payton Gendron, the 19-year-old gunman who killed 10 Black people in a racially-motivated supermarket shooting last spring, was on Wednesday sentenced to life in prison without parole following what The New York Times described as an "emotional and dramatic hearing."
Proceedings were interrupted twice: once after a man lunged at Gendron, and again when "a member of the audience began screaming and cursing" at the defendant as he issued a brief apology, per the Times.
Before hearing his sentence, Gendron was confronted by the family members of his victims, who denounced him as a "cowardly racist" and a "weak human."
"The world says you have to forgive in order to move on," said Zeneta Everhart, whose son was injured but survived. "But I stand before you today to say that will never happen."
"We are extremely aware that you are not a lone wolf, but a part of a larger organized network of domestic terrorists," added Simone Crowley, whose grandmother was killed in the attack. "And to that network, we say we as a people are unbreakable."
Gendron carefully plotted the devastating May shooting for months, after having bought into white supremacist and antisemitic ideology online, and purposely chose to target a Tops supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood of Buffalo. He even went so far as to live-stream the incident on social media.
The 19-year-old later pleaded guilty to state murder and domestic terrorism charges in November, but "still faces federal hate crime and firearm charges that could make him eligible for capital punishment," per The Washington Post. A decision on the matter is still forthcoming.
"There is no place for you and your ignorant, hateful ideology. There can be no mercy for you. No understanding. No second chances," Judge Susan Eagan told the defendant on Wednesday. "The damage you have caused is too great. And the people you have hurt are too valuable to this community. You will never see the light of day as a free man ever again."