On Wednesday, Buffalo grocery store mass shooter Payton Gendron was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole.
Judge Susan Eagan first read a statement on the “harmful effects of institutional racism and white supremacy, calling it an ‘insidious cancer on our society and nation,’” before adding “There is no place for you or your ignorant, hateful and evil ideologies in a civilized society. There can be no mercy for you, no understanding, no second chances. 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.”
The sentencing hearing was heightened by emotions. One man charged towards Gendron during the proceedings while Barbara Massey, sister to one of the victims, Katherine Massey told him, “You don’t know a damn thing about Black people. We’re human. We like our kids to go to good schools. We love our kids. We never go to no neighborhoods to take people out.”
During Massey’s address, reports say a man in a gray jogging suit ran toward Gendron and lunged at him before being escorted out of the courtroom. John Flynn, Erie County District Attorney, will not be pursuing charges against the man as he “understands emotions were high during the sentencing.”
One victim, Christopher Braden, who was shot in the leg also made a statement. “Your actions completely changed my life…I have night terrors that jerk me awake in the middle of the night. It takes me 15 minutes to get out of bed,” he said. Braden has had to undergo four surgeries, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, and still has to undergo two additional surgeries.
Through tears, Gendron attempted to apologize. “I’m very sorry for all the pain I forced the victims and their families to suffer through. I’m very sorry for stealing the lives of your loved ones. I cannot express how much I regret all the decisions I made leading up to my actions on May 14,” he said. “I did a terrible thing that day. I shot and killed people because they were Black. Looking back now, I can’t believe I actually did it. I believed what I read online and acted out of hate. I know I can’t take it back, but I wish I could, and I don’t want anyone to be inspired by me and what I did,” reports CNN.
Relatives of those who died in the shooting, Margus Morrison, Pearly Young, Ruth Whitfield, Celestine Chaney, Andre Mackneil, Geraldine Talley, Heyward Patterson, Roberta Drury, Massey, and Tops security guard Aaron Salter were not consoled by Gendron’s belated apology. One woman even yelled out, “You don’t mean none of that s—.”