Modified: May 15, 2022 6:33am
Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 18-year-old Payton S. Gendron of Conklin, New York was arraigned this evening before Buffalo City Court Judge Craig D. Hannah on one count of Murder in the First Degree (Class “A-I” felony).
It is alleged that on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at approximately 2:30 p.m., the defendant drove to Tops Friendly Markets on Jefferson Avenue near Riley Street in the City of Buffalo with the intent to commit a crime. The defendant, who was allegedly wearing tactical gear and armed with an assault weapon, encountered several people in the parking lot. The defendant is accused of intentionally shooting four people outside of the grocery store. Three of the four victims died from their injuries.
It is further alleged that the defendant entered the store and exchanged gunfire with an armed security guard. The security guard, who was a retired member of the Buffalo Police Department, died from his injuries. The defendant allegedly shot eight more people inside of the store. Six died from their injuries. Two people were injured by gunfire.
The defendant was quickly apprehended by responding police officers.
“This is a tragic day in the City of Buffalo. This defendant is accused of traveling to our area and targeting innocent people who were shopping for their groceries on a Saturday afternoon. I continue to pray for all affected by this horrific crime. I am committed to obtaining justice for the victims, their families and this community. My office is working closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our partners in law enforcement into potential terrorism and hate crimes. This is an active investigation and additional charges may be filed,” said Erie County DA John Flynn.
Gendron is scheduled to return on Thursday, May 19, 2022 at 9:30 a.m. for a felony hearing. He was remanded without bail.
If convicted of the charge, Gendron faces maximum sentence of life in prison without parole.
DA Flynn commends the Buffalo Police Department, Erie County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, FBI, ATF and all other assisting law enforcement agencies for their work in this ongoing investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Chief Gary W. Hackbush of the Homicide Unit and Chief John P. Feroleto of the Major Crimes Unit.
As are all persons accused of a crime, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.