An avowed white supremacist who carried out a deadly mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket has pleaded guilty to murder and hate-motivated terror charges.
Payton Gendron, 19, drove three hours from his home near Binghamton, N.Y., to the Tops Friendly Markets store in Buffalo, where he opened fire with an AR-15-style semiautomatic assault rifle.
The teenager, who was wearing military-style body armor at the time, shot and killed 10 people and wounded three others in an attack in May.
Police said Gendron left a racist manifesto online before the attack in which he admitted targeting the town because it is a predominantly black neighbourhood, the court heard.
Eleven of Gendron’s victims were black.
The victims ranged in age from 32 to 86 and included an armed security guard who died protecting patrons, a church deacon and the mother of a former Buffalo fire commissioner.
In court, Chandron pleaded guilty to all charges against him, including murder, murder as a hate crime and hate-motivated domestic terrorism.
Gendron also admitted to killing three survivors in an attack in May of this year.
The handcuffed teen, wearing an orange jumpsuit, showed little emotion during the 45-minute proceedings in Erie County Courthouse, just two miles from the scene of the shooting.
Gendron will spend the rest of his life behind bars as he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole. New York State does not have the death penalty.
A sentencing hearing is expected at a later date.
In July, another indictment returned in U.S. District Court charged Gendron with 27 federal hate crimes and firearms crimes, for which he could face the death penalty if convicted.
After the attack, police were praised for responding less than two minutes after the incident began.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said many more lives could have been lost had it not been for their “swift response” and “courageous actions.”