BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Loved ones say they appreciate U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland coming to Buffalo Wednesday.

News 4 spoke with the family of Ruth Whitfield and Geraldine Talley. They gave us their thoughts on Garland being here, the federal charges and what they want to see moving forward.

“They’re bringing the full measure of their authority and resources to bear on this case and that gives us a lot of confidence,” said Garnell Whitfield, the son of Ruth Whitfield, “Our message was, first of all, thanking him for being here, personally, we don’t take that lightly, but also we wanted to make sure that they were not looking at this as a singular case in Buffalo, this is a problem throughout America.”

Garnell is a former Buffalo Fire commissioner.

The family of Whitfield and Talley said they appreciate Garland coming to Buffalo. The Whitfield family said they had a message to Garland, not just on gun reform.

“The other part of the problem is white supremacy and white nationalism and that’s what’s got to be talked about something’s got to be done about that,” Whitfield said, “We want justice, we want equity, we want to be treated like human beings, and that’s what we want not just for us, not just for our mother but for all of us.”

The Whitfield family also wants federal agencies to help find ways to help prevent mass shooting tragedies from happening.

Right next to the Apollo Theater, we found Mark Talley, the son of Geraldine Talley, volunteering to hand out meals. Talley was unable to meet with Garland because he was busy helping people in the community.

“I’m definitely appreciative of the fact that he came here once again, not to speak on behalf of the other families I’m pretty sure they feel the same way hopefully,” Talley said.

He says he’s happy that federal charges have been filed and that he wants to see prosecutors pursue the death penalty.

“Absolutely, I believe in certain situations the death penalty calls for, in this you have somebody who actually studied up on how to kill somebody,” Talley said.

The Talley and Whitfield families say they’re not done fighting for gun reform and they want anyone who may have helped the suspect to be held accountable.

The Whitfield’s had no comment on whether they would like to see the death penalty. Both families say they will do their part in bringing about more gun reform.

Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.