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Buffalo Shooter Faces Hate Crime Charges As Store Reopens

The names of the 10 Black people massacred by a white gunman were read aloud Thursday outside the Buffalo supermarket where they died, two months after the racist attack. A bell tolled after each name at a ceremony marking the store’s reopening. The ten were killed when a then-18-year-old gunman wearing body armor and carrying a semiautomatic rifle opened fire on weekend shoppers and employees. Investigators say the shooter was motivated by white supremacist beliefs and researched the demographics of the predominantly Black neighborhood where the market is located with the intent of killing as many Black people as possible, the Associated Press reports.

“We must go on,” said Tops employee Rosalie Bishop, 58, who has worked at the store for 12 years. She wants the store open again — and couldn’t imagine not returning to work with colleagues who she considers family. On Thursday, a federal grand jury indicted the shooter, Payton Gendron, on counts including federal hate crime charges punishable by the death penalty. Federal charges were first announced last month, and Gendron has pleaded not guilty in parallel state and federal cases. “The Justice Department fully recognizes the threat that white supremacist violence poses to the safety of the American people and American democracy,” said U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. The decision to reopen, rather than relocate, the store has been met with mixed emotions in the high-poverty neighborhood that fought for years to get a grocery store.


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