Families of the Buffalo Tops supermarket shooting victims filed a new lawsuit Wednesday against several social media platforms, gun retailers, and the shooter's parents for their roles in the shooting. The 176-page lawsuit argues that several corporations in addition to the shooter's parents played a role in May 2022 episode that killed 10 Black people and injured three others, NPR reports. Nearly a dozen companies were mentioned in the lawsuit, including Meta (which owns both Facebook and Instagram), Reddit, Amazon (which owns Twitch), Google, YouTube, Discord and 4Chan. Other companies sued include RMA Armament — a body-armor manufacturer — and Vintage Firearms, LLC, a gun retailer.
The lawsuit argues that the gunman, now 20-year-old Payton Gendron, was radicalized by these social media platforms, which directly lead to him carrying out the deadly shooting. "Addiction to these defective social media products leads users like Gendron into social isolation. Once isolated, Gendron became radicalized by overexposure to fringe, racist ideologies and was primed for the reckless and wanton conduct of the weapons and body armor defendants," the lawsuit reads. In February, Gendron was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Proceedings for Gendron's federal charges are still pending after he pleaded not guilty to 27 charges — including several hate crime charges. Attorney General Merrick Garland will decide whether to seek the death penalty.