BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Gov. Kathy Hochul, in a statement on the recent racially-motivated killings in Jacksonville, called what happened “disturbingly similar” to the Buffalo mass shooting.

This past Saturday, three Black people were fatally shot inside a Dollar General store by a white man “carrying at least one weapon bearing a swastika,” an Associated Press report, citing officials, said. The suspect then killed himself there, the report says.

“Another American city is in mourning today after the latest racially-motivated mass shooting. “A gunman with hate in his heart used a deadly firearm to unleash death and destruction in Jacksonville,” Hochul said. “Our hearts go out to the families of the victims and the entire Jacksonville community.”

On May 14, 2022, ten people were killed and three others were injured when a then-18-year-old came to Buffalo from Broome County and opened fire at the Tops store on Jefferson Avenue. He was later sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison.

“Sadly, New Yorkers know this feeling all too well,” Hochul said of the tragic incident in Florida. “Last year’s massacre of ten Buffalo residents was disturbingly similar to this shooting in Jacksonville: a gunman motivated by racism, a weapon of war used to massacre innocent people, and a community torn apart.”

In her statement, Hochul pointed out changes made to state laws in response to the mass shooting and encouraged lawmakers in Florida to do something.

“After the Buffalo massacre, New York took action to curb gun violence and prevent these acts of terror,” she said. “We raised the age to buy a semiautomatic rifle, strengthened our red flag laws, and required social media companies to improve their responses to hateful comments on their platforms. Florida’s leaders must do the same.”

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown shared similar sentiments on Twitter, saying he was “incredibly saddened by the news of the racially motivated shootings in Jacksonville.”

“Last year, we felt that pain here in Buffalo and we hoped no other community would experience it again.”

Like Hochul, Brown said something has to be done.

“This must serve as a call to action to do more to address the problem of hateful ideologies and finally address the gun violence epidemic nationwide,” Brown said. “My thoughts and prayers tonight are with the loved ones of the innocent victims.”

State News

Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.