The white supremacist who murdered 10 Black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, was ushered out of the courtroom after a man charged him during the sentencing hearing on Feb. 15.
Payton Gendron, 19, was sentenced to life in prison without parole for murdering 10 people at the Tops Friendly Market in a Black neighborhood in Buffalo on May 14, 2022. Gendron had planned the mass murder for several months. During an emotional sentencing hearing, an unidentified man charged Gendron but was held back by several police officers as Gendron was quickly ushered to safety.
The incident happened just as Barbara Mapps was giving her victim impact statement. Massey’s sister, 72-year-old Katherine Massey, was murdered by Gendron at the grocery store. Mapps gave her impact statement and said she wanted to choke Gendron as a man stood behind her.
“You come to our city and decide you do not like Black people? Man, you don’t know a damn thing about Black people,” Massey said. “We’re human. We like our kids to go to a good school. We love our kids. We’d never go to no neighborhood and take people out.”
Just as Massey finished her sentence, the man pushed her aside to get to Gendron as several police officers restrained him.
A man on Twitter responded to a viral video of the attack and identified himself as Mapps’ nephew. He also said the irate man was his cousin.
Social media users commented on how Gendron was rushed out of the courtroom as multiple police officers restrained the man. One person replied, “They ushered him out like he was the victim. Smh.”
“One of the few times I would be in favor of vigilante justice,” added another person. “I see they ushered the murderer’s ass up out of there,” noted another. “But I’m glad that guy didn’t get to him. He would’ve been in trouble!”
“He doesn’t deserve to be ushered away,” replied another. “The people he killed weren’t afforded that opportunity.”
Erie County Court Judge Susan Eagan spoke on white supremacy and quoted poet Amanda Gorman during the sentencing hearing.
“White supremacy is not inevitable or unstoppable. It has been carefully cultivated and nurtured by the government for centuries,” said Eagan. “This is the history that we have all inherited. It has been passed down from generation to generation. We must acknowledge that history. See that history for what it is. Recognize it and learn from it or we are doomed to repeat it. Let ours be the generation to put a stop to it.”
“We can do better. We must do better. Our own humanity requires it. As an individual, we must call out injustice in our daily lives when we see it. We must reject racism in all of its forms. We must be conscious of the power of our words and actions and the impact they have on those around us. Both intended and unintended.”
Eagan went on to say that we must demand better from our public servants meant to address inequities before quoting Gorman. “There is always light if only we are brave enough to see it. If only we are brave enough to be it,” said Eagan.
Eagan also told the killer that he would never see the light of day again as a free man.
“There is no place for you and your ignorant, hateful ideology. There can be no mercy for you. No understanding. No second chances,” Eagan said to Gendron. “The damage you have caused is too great. And the people you have hurt are too valuable to this community. You will never see the light of day as a free man ever again.”
Gendron provided an apology, admitting he murdered 10 people because of the color of their skin. “I did a terrible thing that day. I shot and killed people because they were Black,” Gendron said. “Looking back now, I can’t believe I did it.”
Gendron murdered 32-year-old Roberta A. Drury, 53-year-old Margus D. Morrison, 53-year-old Andre Mackniel, 55-year-old Aaron Salter, 62-year-old Geraldine Talley, 65-year-old Celestine Chaney, 67-year-old Heyward Patterson, 72-year-old Katherine Massey, 77-year-old Pearl Young and Ruth Whitfield, 86.
New York state does not have the death penalty.