Grand Jury Indicts Buffalo Gunman as 911 Dispatcher Placed on Leave
Buffalo mass shooting suspect, Payton Gendron, appears in court after being indicted for murder as a 911 dispatcher's conduct with a supermarket manager is investigated.
The white man accused of killing 10 Black people at a supermarket in Buffalo appeared in court Thursday, standing silently during a brief proceeding attended by some relatives of the victims after a grand jury indicted him, according to the Associated Press.
Payton Gendron, 18, wore an orange jail uniform, a mask and handcuffs. As he was led out, someone shouted “Payton, you’re a coward!” from the courtroom gallery. He is being held in jail without bail.
Excerpt from the Associated Press: Assistant district attorney Gary Hackbush said the first-degree murder indictment, which covers all 10 deaths, was handed up Wednesday. Thirteen people in all were shot Saturday at the Tops Friendly Market in a predominantly Black neighborhood of Buffalo. Authorities are continuing to investigate the possibility of hate crime and terrorism charges. District attorney John Flynn said his office would not comment on the case while the grand jury investigation continues.
According to The New York Times, last spring, as the end of the academic year approached at Susquehanna Valley High School outside Binghamton, N.Y., students were asked for a school project about their plans after graduation. Payton Gendron, a senior, said he wanted to commit a murder-suicide, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the matter.
Excerpt from The New York Times: He claimed to be joking, the official said. But the state police were summoned to investigate and took Mr. Gendron, then 17, into custody on June 8 under a state mental health law, police officials said Sunday. He had a psychiatric evaluation in a hospital but was released within a couple of days, the officials said. Two weeks later, Mr. Gendron graduated and fell off investigators’ radar.
In a related story, The Washington Post reports that a 911 dispatcher who allegedly hung up on a Tops employee trapped inside the Buffalo supermarket during Saturday’s mass shooting that killed 10 people has been placed on administrative leave and is facing possible termination, according to county officials.
Latisha Rogers, an assistant office manager at the Tops supermarket, told the Buffalo News and WGRZ that she called 911 and whispered to the dispatcher in hope of making the official aware of the mass shooting unfolding at the grocery store. But instead of assistance in a moment when she was "scared for my life," Rogers said the 911 dispatcher dismissed her with "a very nasty tone."
Excerpt from The Washington Post: "The dispatcher comes on and I’m whispering to her and I said, 'Miss, please send help to 1275 Jefferson there is a shooter in the store,' " Rogers told WGRZ. "She proceeded in a very nasty tone and says, 'I can’t hear you, why are you whispering? You don’t have to whisper, they can’t hear you,' so I continued to whisper and I said, 'Ma’am he’s still in the store, he’s still shooting! I’m scared for my life, please send help!' Out of nervousness, my phone fell out of my hand, she said something I couldn’t make out, and then the phone hung up."