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Buffalo Mass Shooting: Buffalo supermarket to reopen 2 months after mass shooting

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo supermarket where 10 black people were killed by a white gunman is set to reopen its doors to the public on Friday, two months after the racist attack.

A moment of silence and prayer will be observed Thursday at Tops Friendly Market to honor the victims, employees and community affected by the May 14 mass shooting, with a ceremonial reopening of the renovated store before customers return Friday, said company.

Ten black men were killed when a then-18-year-old gunman wearing body armor and wielding a semi-automatic rifle opened fire on weekend shoppers and employees. Three people were injured in the massacre.

Investigators say the shooter was motivated by beliefs of white supremacy and canvassed the demographics of the predominantly black neighborhood where the market is located in order to kill as many black people as possible. He drove more than three hours from his home in Conklin, New York, to carry out the attack, authorities said.

The decision to reopen, rather than relocate, the store was met with mixed feelings in the high-poverty East Buffalo neighborhood that has struggled for years to get a grocery store. Since opening in 2003, the Tops location remains the only supermarket in the immediate area. Its closure in the wake of the shooting forced many residents to take buses to other locations or rely on stop-gap measures such as neighborhood gifts to access fresh food.

Buffalo supermarket to reopen 2 months after mass shooting
By CAROLYN THOMPSON
2 hours ago
FILE – A person pays their respects outside the scene of a shooting at a supermarket, in Buffalo, New York, Sunday, May 15, 2022. Tops Friendly Markets where 13 people were killed by a white gunman is set to reopen its doors on Thursday, July 14, two months after the racist attack. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
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FILE – A person pays their respects outside the scene of a shooting at a supermarket, in Buffalo, New York, Sunday, May 15, 2022. Tops Friendly Markets where 13 people were killed by a white gunman is set to reopen its doors on Thursday, July 14, two months after the racist attack. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – The Buffalo supermarket where 10 black people were killed by a white gunman is set to reopen its doors to the public Friday, two months after the racist attack.

A moment of silence and prayer will be observed Thursday at Tops Friendly Market to honor the victims, employees and community affected by the May 14 mass shooting, with a ceremonial reopening of the renovated store before customers return Friday, said company.

Ten black men were killed when a then-18-year-old gunman wearing body armor and wielding a semi-automatic rifle opened fire on weekend shoppers and employees. Three people were injured in the massacre.

Investigators say the shooter was motivated by beliefs of white supremacy and canvassed the demographics of the predominantly black neighborhood where the market is located in order to kill as many black people as possible. He drove more than three hours from his home in Conklin, New York, to carry out the attack, authorities said.

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The decision to reopen, rather than relocate, the store was met with mixed feelings in the high-poverty East Buffalo neighborhood that has struggled for years to get a grocery store. Since opening in 2003, the Tops location remains the only supermarket in the immediate area. Its closure in the wake of the shooting forced many residents to take buses to other locations or rely on stop-gap measures such as neighborhood gifts to access fresh food.

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“We have to keep going,” said Tops employee Rosalie Bishop, who has worked at the store for 12 years. He wants the store to reopen — and never for a moment thought about not returning to work with co-workers he considers family.

“The store is there for a reason. The store is still there for a reason,” said Bishop, 58, who was on her way to work when the shooting happened and said she is still processing her near miss. “The world will return. It may not come today or tomorrow, but it will return.”

Other neighbors say reopening isn’t the best way forward.

Suggestions to local media and social networks include turning the site into a park or recreation center that will bring the community together, or creating several supermarkets that are more dispersed throughout Buffalo’s East Side.

Some simply cannot imagine entering a store where such terrible events took place.

The shooter, Payton Gendron, was arrested just outside the store’s front entrance. He is charged with multiple charges, including federal hate crime charges punishable by the death penalty, and has pleaded not guilty to state and federal charges.

Authorities say the gunman was motivated by white supremacist beliefs, including a baseless conspiracy theory about a conspiracy to diminish the influence of white people. He chronicled his plans for months in an online journal, authorities said, and live-streamed the attack through a helmet cam.

Mayor Byron Brown said he was apprehensive during his first tour of the renovated store, but believes the overhaul will be helpful for customers.

“I realize that not everyone will feel comfortable returning to the store,” he said in a statement, adding that he encourages other retailers to serve the area.

“None of us will ever forget the cruel, racist attack,” Brown said. The reopening is a step toward healing, he said.

Bishop is already back at the shop to help with the preparations. Her first day went smoothly, but a flashing lights safety drill on the second day sent her home, flustered, mid-shift. However, she said she does not fear for her safety.

“I just want peace. I just want peace,” Bishop said. “It will never go back to the way it was. We’re not looking for the way it was. But peace.”

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Buffalo Mass Shooting: Buffalo supermarket to reopen 2 months after mass shooting Source link Buffalo Mass Shooting: Buffalo supermarket to reopen 2 months after mass shooting

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