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

BUFFALO, NY — The Buffalo grocery store, where 10 black people were killed by a white gunman, is scheduled to reopen its doors to the public on Friday, two months after the racist attack.

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

Ten blacks were killed when a gunman, then 18, in body armor and holding 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 white racial beliefs and was studying the demographics of the predominantly black neighborhood where the market is located with the intention of killing 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 the store rather than move it was met with mixed feelings in the East Buffalo neighborhood, which, plagued by high levels of poverty, struggled for years to get hold of a grocery store. Since opening in 2003, the Tops location has been the only supermarket in the immediate vicinity. The closure following the shooting forced many residents to take buses to other locations or to rely on stopgap solutions such as neighborhood giveaways for access to fresh groceries.

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, NY on Sunday, May 15, 2022. Tops Friendly Markets, where 13 people were gunned down by a white gunman, is set to reopen 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, NY on Sunday, May 15, 2022. Tops Friendly Markets, where 13 people were gunned down by a white gunman, is set to reopen on Thursday , July 14, two months after the racist attack. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, file)
BUFFALO, NY (AP) — The Buffalo grocery store, where 10 black people were killed by a white gunman, is scheduled to reopen its doors to the public on Friday, two months after the racist attack.

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

Ten blacks were killed when a gunman, then 18, in body armor and holding 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 white racial beliefs and was studying the demographics of the predominantly black neighborhood where the market is located with the intention of killing 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 the store rather than move it was met with mixed feelings in the East Buffalo neighborhood, which, plagued by high levels of poverty, struggled for years to get hold of a grocery store. Since opening in 2003, the Tops location has been the only supermarket in the immediate vicinity. The closure following the shooting forced many residents to take buses to other locations or to rely on stopgap solutions such as neighborhood giveaways for access to fresh groceries.

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“We have to move on,” said Tops employee Rosalie Bishop, who has worked at the store for 12 years. She wants the store to reopen – and hasn’t thought for a moment not to not work with colleagues she 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’s still processing her near miss. “People will come back. They may not come today or tomorrow, but they will come back.”

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

Suggestions for local media and social media include turning the site into a park or recreation center that would bring the community together, or having multiple supermarkets spread across Buffalo’s East Side.

Some just can’t imagine entering a store where such horrific events took place.

The shooter, Payton Gendron, was arrested just outside the front entrance of the store. He faces numerous charges, including federal hate crime charges, which carry the death penalty, and has pleaded not guilty to federal and state charges.

Authorities say the shooter was motivated by white supremacist beliefs, including an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory of a conspiracy to reduce white influence. He recorded his plans in an online diary for months, authorities said, and live-streamed the attack via a helmet camera.

Mayor Byron Brown said he was concerned when he first toured the revamped store but believes the overhaul will be helpful to customers.

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

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

Bishop has already returned to the store to help with the preparations. Her first day went smoothly, but a safety drill with flashing lights on day two sent her home shaken in the middle of the shift. Despite this, she said she was not afraid for her safety.

“I just want peace. I just want peace,” Bishop said. “It will never be the same again. We’re not looking for how it was. But peace.”

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

https://6abc.com/buffalo-market-reopens-topps-mass-shooting-two-month/12051396/ Buffalo Mass Shooting: Buffalo supermarket to reopen 2 months after mass shooting

Alley Einstein

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