By Mark Morales, CNN
(CNN) — The families of victims who were killed or injured in the 2022 mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket will meet with Justice Department officials ahead of a previously scheduled status hearing, an attorney representing victims’ families says.
On May 14, 2022, a White gunman killed 10 people in what was found to be a racially motivated mass shooting at a Tops Friendly Markets grocery store located in a predominantly Black neighborhood.
The families will be “briefed on a very important announcement that the Justice Department is making” in the case at an 11 a.m. ET meeting in Buffalo, civil attorney John Elmore told CNN. The status hearing is scheduled for Friday at 2 p.m.
The United States Department of Justice did not provide any further information when asked about the announcement.
Payton Gendron was 18 when he used an illegally modified semi-automatic rifle to carry out the deadly attack, which he livestreamed.
The victims included customers, employees and an armed security guard, ranging in age from 20 to 86. Of the 13 people shot, including 11 Black people and two White people, all of the victims who died were Black, according to authorities.
He pleaded guilty in November of 2022 to one count of domestic act of terrorism motivated by hate, 10 counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder and a weapons possession charge.
Gendron, now 19, was sentenced to life in prison at a state sentencing hearing in New York last February, CNN previously reported.
He also faces federal charges including 10 counts of hate crime resulting in death, 10 counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a violent crime, three counts of hate crime involving bodily injury and three counts of use and discharge of a firearm during a violent crime, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York. Gendron has pleaded not guilty.
The federal charges carry the possibility of the death penalty. Justice Department officials have been deliberating on whether Gendron will face the death penalty in the federal case, which has delayed the trial’s start, CNN affiliate Spectrum News 1 Buffalo reported.
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CNN’s Eric Levenson, Laura Ly and Aya Elamroussi contributed to this report.