BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A funeral was held Friday for the father who was shot and killed while buying a birthday cake for his three-year-old son at Tops. Andre Mackniel, 53, was one of 10 people who were killed in the mass shooting at the grocery store on May 14.

His celebration of life took place at Antioch Baptist Church, less than one mile from the Tops on Jefferson Avenue. Many people in attendance wore the color red.

“Everybody’s upset. We’re all in tears. This is heartbreaking,” said Joselyn Feeney, a distant cousin of Mackniel’s.

Mackniel lived in Auburn, N.Y., which is near Syracuse. But he attended South Park High School in South Buffalo. And people there still remember him.

“I went to South Park High School,” said Feeney. “Everybody knew that he was my older cousin because of my father. First thing they would say to me is, ‘Your cousin is the ball player, number one star player.’ They all loved him.”

In addition to his son, Andre Jr., Mackniel had four other children and three grandchildren. His obituary notes his love of music, both listening to it and playing the guitar. He also enjoyed writing poetry. Now, his family has written their final goodbye.

“We love you Andre,” Feeney said. “I’m going to keep saying it.”

Andre Mackniel

Chris Horvatits is an award-winning reporter and anchor who started working at WIVB in 2017. A Lancaster native, he came to Buffalo after working at stations in Rochester and Watertown. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.