BUFFALO — The accused gunman in Saturday’s massacre at a supermarket in Buffalo appeared in court on Thursday morning, facing a count of murder in the first degree, as some family members of the 10 people he is accused of killing looked on.
The felony hearing, in Erie County court, was adjourned by a judge until June 9, largely a procedural step in what is likely to be a closely watched case. The authorities have said the suspect, Payton S. Gendron, 18, was an avowed racist who used an assault-style weapon to carry out an attack at a Tops grocery store in a predominantly Black section of Buffalo last weekend. Mr. Gendron is white, and all 10 people who died in the attack were Black.
Mr. Gendron, who has pleaded not guilty, appeared briefly in the courtroom, wearing an orange jumpsuit, amid heavy security. He faces life in prison if convicted.
In a brief statement, the Erie County district attorney, John J. Flynn, said that Mr. Gendron continues to be held without bail. He said he would make no further comment until a grand jury investigation is complete.
Several victims’ family members came to watch Mr. Gendron’s felony hearing, but did not speak to reporters as they left.
The hearing on Thursday came even as grieving families began to prepare for funerals in the coming days, and elected officials and political leaders continued to promise changes to laws and other policies to counter the rise of white supremacy and gun violence.
On Wednesday, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a series of measures intended to strengthen New York’s gun laws, as well as requesting that the state attorney general, Letitia James, investigate the social media platforms where the suspected gunman was radicalized, posted racist writings and briefly streamed his attack.
The shooting erupted on a sunny Saturday afternoon on Buffalo’s East Side; in addition to the 10 people killed, three others were injured. The authorities say that Mr. Gendron drove some 200 miles to Buffalo from his home in Conklin, N.Y., to commit the shooting, after months of outlining his plans on a private online diary that he kept on Discord, a chat application.
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