On trial for “premeditated murder,” Payton Gendron pleaded not guilty during a first appearance this weekend and is due back in court on May 19. He now faces an eventual life sentence.
On the barrel of his legally purchased assault rifle was written an offensive, racist and taboo word in America for black people and the number “14,” a reference to a slogan by white supremacist groups.
Payton Gendron was born in 2003 and grew up in a small, fairly rural, almost exclusively white New York state town, more than a three-hour drive from the supermarket in Buffalo. He says that he chose this location for his attack because he is in the neighborhood with “the highest rate” of African-American residents in the region.
A year ago, when asked about his intentions coming out of high school, he said that he wanted to make a massacre before committing suicide. A joke, according to him, but the police had become concerned about this threat and had sent him to a psychiatric hospital, from which he was released a few days later and without follow-up, US media reported.
In his manifesto, he says that in May 2020, he suffered from “extreme boredom” due to the confinement against covid and turned to 4Chan, a forum used by the extreme right.
There he found his inspiration: Brenton Tarrant, the author of a real carnage in two New Zealand mosques in 2019, which killed 51 people. In addition, he was the author of a manifesto.
“I read it and found that I generally agreed with it,” the young man said.
He also copied and pasted large passages of his text into his own, AFP found.
With information from AFP and Reuters