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Mass Shooting at Tops Friendly Mart

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At a Buffalo Tops supermarket on Saturday, a horrifying mass shooting that officials say allegedly occurred due to racially motivated reasons. The shooting is a shock to the community which was enjoying a wonderful May afternoon. It occurred at 1275 Jefferson Ave in Buffalo, and according to Shannon Harris the operating manager working at Tops during the shooting, “it was packed.” Harris said that she heard gunshots and ran frantically through the store, falling several times before being able to exit through the back. She says that she saw the shooter which she described as a white man in camouflage.

13 people were shot, and the racial makeup of those shot were 11 black people and two white people according to Buffalo police commissioner Joseph Gramaglia. Ten of those shot lost their lives in the rampage. Details of the victims are as follows;

  • Robert A. Drury, age 32, who had moved to Buffalo NY to be with her brother who had recently had a bone marrow transplant due to leukemia.
  • Margus D. Morrison, age 52 who was a father of three.
  • Andre Mackneil, age 53
  • Aaron Salter, age 55, a retired police officer who was working as a security guard in Top Friendly Mart’s grocery store. He opened fire on the gunman in an attempt to stop the shooting, but unfortunately was shot and killed.
  • Geraldine Tally, age 62
  • Celestine Chaney, age 65, a devoted grandmother.
  • Heyward Patterson, age 67, a pastor who drove people to and from the supermarket. he was shot in his truck sitting in the parking lot.
  • Katherine Massey, age 72, a community activist with a “beautiful soul”, according to her sister.
  • Pearl Young, age 77, was a dedicated teacher in Buffalo public schools.
  • Ruth Whitfield, age 86, who had just been to visit her husband in an aged care home. She stopped in to the supermarket to pick up a few groceries.

The youngest shooting victim was a store clerk named Zaire Goodman, age 20, who was released from the hospital after being shot in the neck. Jennifer Warrington, age 50, has also been treated and released. Christopher Braden, age 55, was listed as in stable condition. Katherine Crofton, a retired firefighter and medic, witnessed the shooting from her porch on Riley Street. She said she was playing with her dog and smoking a cigarette when she heard a shot. “I didn’t see him at first, I turned around and I saw him shoot this woman,” Crofton said. “She was just going into the store. And then he shot another woman. She was putting groceries into her car. I got down because I did not know if he was going to shoot me.”

Now questions are being asked whether red flags on the shooter had been missed. The shooter was 18-year-old Peyton Gendron and he had been flagged once to authorities after making a generalized threat while at school last year in June. He spent a day and a half in a mental hospital undergoing a mental health evaluation at that time. He was not adjudicated as insane and thus was not put on any FBI or statewide watch lists. No red flags came back on his background check when he bought a gun.

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A document 180 pages long which is allegedly authored by Mr. Gendron has also emerged fueling the speculation for the motivation behind the shootings. The document itself says that Mr. Gendron was a fascist and a white supremacist although those terms were not actually defined. Police are looking to prosecute it as a hate crime. He was arrested after the attack and has pled not guilty to murder charges. He is due in court on May 19th.