BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – Hundreds of people from all across Western New York gathered Sunday morning to pray for the lives lost during Saturday’s mass shooting. The community held a vigil outside the Tops on Jefferson Avenue, where 10 people were killed and three others were injured.
“Somebody put hate in that young man’s heart, and we are not a hateful community,” a woman at the gathering said.
Through faith, prayer, and support, hundreds gathered to begin the long road toward healing.
“Yes of course we are weary, and you know what, in the midst of the ashes, we shall resurrect ourselves as a community,” one speaker said during the vigil. “As people united together, we stand in harmony. I say to us, people rise up. rise up, can you say that, rise up.”
Police officials said the shooting was a hate crime, targeting the Black community on Buffalo’s East Side.
“This is unacceptable — unacceptable,” another speaker said. “They will not put fear in our community. They will not have our babies out here feeling like they can’t be safe in their own backyard. We won’t stand for it.”
“I lost three friends last night,” former Erie County Legislature Chairwoman Betty Jean Grant said. “Let’s honor their memory by keeping calm. Let this community remain calm. Power comes in numbers.”
“One thing I’d like to say about the city of Buffalo, and there is racism prevalent in the city of Buffalo but when a crisis takes place, in this city, I don’t care what it is, there is no other city in this nation that comes together like people in Buffalo,” Pastor James Giles, the founder of Back to Basics Ministries said.
VOICE Buffalo hosted Sunday’s healing and prayer vigil.