The indictment was announced Thursday during a brief court appearance for Gendron, who was ordered to remain held without bail. He wore an orange jumpsuit and a white face mask and was handcuffed and shackled as he walked into the courtroom flanked by officers.
He was ordered remanded in custody for further action from a grand jury and is next expected in court on June 9. Gendron’s attorney Brian Parker had no comment.
As Gendron was led away following his court appearance, someone in the packed courtroom yelled, “Payton, you’re a coward!”
Authorities are investigating the shooting as a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism. Of the 13 victims shot, 11 were Black.
Officials digging into red flag laws, social media sites
While the suspect is behind bars, New York officials have called for further examination of how he was able to get guns and how he communicated his plans online.
In June, Gendron showed a warning sign of potential violence when he made a school project about murder-suicides when he was a student at Susquehanna Valley Central High School in Conklin, New York, officials said.
Police were called to the school, and he was taken for a mental health evaluation and later released. At the time, police didn’t seek a “red flag” order of protection against Gendron.
The red flag law, also known as the Extreme Risk Protection Order law, is designed to prevent anyone who shows signs of being a threat to themselves or others from purchasing a firearm, New York’s website states.
But because the evaluation was not an involuntary commitment, it did not prevent the suspected shooter from purchasing or possessing a gun under federal law, said New York State Police spokesperson Beau Duffy.
Since the shooting, Gov. Kathy Hochul has proposed a gun laws package, as well as other changes to law enforcement protocol when a person shows they may be harmful to themselves or others.
On Wednesday, Hochul said she would sign an executive order requiring state police to file an “extreme risk order of protection” under the red flag law when they believe that an individual is a threat to himself, herself or others.
The gun laws package would aim to close loopholes around specific types of guns that fall outside current regulations, including high-powered, concealable guns and those that can be modified to hold high-capacity magazines, she said.
The proposed legislation would remedy “just one of those enormous loopholes that you can drive a truck through,” she said.
The probe, disclosed Wednesday by James’ office, focuses on Twitch, Discord and the websites 4chan and 8chan (now known as 8kun). Other as yet unnamed companies could also be drawn into the investigation, James said.
The investigation is expected to focus on companies that “the Buffalo shooter used to plan, promote, and stream his terror attack,” James announced in a tweet.
CNN’s Aya Elamroussi, Shimon Prokupecz, Kimberly Berryman, Liam Reilly, Mark Morales and Kristina Sgueglia contributed to this report.