USA: Racist murderer in Buffalo, New York charged with hate crimes, faces death penalty
The US Justice Department has charged 18-year-old Payton Gendron with federal hate crimes after he allegedly murdered 10 people in May at a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York. If convicted, he could be given the death penalty.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland visited the site of the mass shooting yesterday and met with the bereaved relatives of the victims. The counts of hate crime could be punished with a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
CNN reports that the three counts of use and discharge of a firearm during a violent crime committed by the shooter in Buffalo could even be punished with the death penalty and the Justice Ministry will be meeting with bereaved relatives of the victims and survivors of the shooting to seek their input on that. Gendron allegedly murdered 10 people, wounded another three, and also livestreamed part of his attack on the streaming service Twitch before surrendering to police.
Before committing his crimes, Gendron is said to have shared a racist tirade online in which he described his plans. In the long post he made it apparent that he had been inspired by other racially-motivated murders.
The shooting in Buffalo, and a subsequent shooting at a school in the Texas town of Uvalde where an 18-year-old attacker allegedly murdered 19 children and two teachers, have renewed calls for gun laws to be tightened in the USA. US Senator Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republican minority in the Senate, has said he is "satisfied" with the framework of a new bill that has been proposed on gun safety.
Should the law be adopted, it would be the boldest gun reform to be enacted in recent years in the USA. The bill is less ambitious compared to US President Joe Biden's intentions, but would achieve several aims, including tightening the vetting of gun purchasers who are under 21 and expanding police powers in cases where guns are bought to be used by persons who have not undergone background checks.
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