Buffalo reflects, mourns 6 months after Tops was shot

Six months have passed since the mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, that killed 10 people and injured three others.

Since the shooting at Tops Friendly Markets on May 14, community members have mourned the loss of friends and family, the store has been redesigned and open again a few months after the tragedy, and a the grand jury was charged the suspected shooter on federal hate crime charges.

On Monday, November 14, a minute’s silence will be observed in Buffalo, “the city of good neighbors.”

But for some, navigating life over the past six months has been difficult.

“It was hell on Earth,” Zenetta Everhart told CBS News’ Jeff Glor.

Everhart’s son, Zaire, started his first job at Tops on Jefferson Avenue less than a year before the shooting. He was shot in the neck and survived.

Others did not, including Garnell Whitfield’s 86-year-old mother, Ruth. Whitfield, the city’s former fire commissioner, wasn’t surprised the suspect targeted black people.

“We know for a fact that racism and bigotry and white supremacy, all of that — it’s always been here,” Whitfield told CBS News. “I think the only difference today and the rest of my previous years is that they’ve taken off the hoods. They used to wear hoods, they hid. Now, they do it openly.”

Tim Hoggs, chairman of the New York State Public Service Commission, arrived at the scene of the mass shooting before police. Hogues said he saw bodies in the parking lot.

“I haven’t been able to get into the store since it opened,” he said.

In the wake of the shooting, the turnout began immediately. The area a few blocks away, home to the Buffalo Bills stadium in the 1950s and 1960s, was used for counseling and food distribution with the neighborhood’s only grocery store closed.

Meanwhile, Everhart launched the “Zeneta and Zaire Book Club,” which has received thousands of donations.

“Education is the key to solving the problem of racism,” Everhart said. “Children are not born hating other cultures and other people. It has taught us. And so, if children are taught that black people are just like them, and have lives like them, and we start from a very young age, we will eradicate racism” .

Mayor Byron Brown, Buffalo’s longest-serving mayor and first black mayor, hopes the situation can serve a larger purpose.

“We want to make sure Buffalo remembers so we can prevent this from happening in other parts of the country.”

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