Two months after a deadly racially-motivated mass shooting at a Buffalo, NY supermarket took the lives of 10 people and injured three, the community is taking an important step towards healing. This week, the Tops Friendly Markets location in Buffalo is preparing to reopen to the public.
According to a press release, members of the community, store associates and local officials will gather on Thursday, July 14, to reflect on the tragic events that shocked the community in May. A moment of silence and prayer will also be held for the victims. Members of the media will then have an opportunity to get a first look at the fully-renovated store, which will reopen to the public on the morning of Friday, July 15.
But as the grieving community prepares to move forward, the alleged gunman, Payton S. Gendron, is preparing for his day in court. The 18-year-old is looking at several federal hate crime charges, including 10 counts of hate crime resulting in death and three counts of hate crime involving bodily injury. If convicted, he could face the death penalty. Gendron is also facing life in prison without parole if convicted on New York state charges connected to the massacre.
Federal authorities say the gunman had been planning the deadly attack for years before he drove over 200 miles from his home and entered the store wearing body armor and carrying an AR-15-style rifle on May 14. Prosecutors say Gendron left a note for his parents admitting to carrying out the massacre because he cared “for the future of the white race.” A laptop was recovered during a search of his Conklin, NY home which contained evidence of a plan. Hand-drawn sketches of the store were also found in his room. Authorities allege Gendron’s goal was to kill “as many Blacks as possible.”