‘How dare you!’: Heartbreak, anger from relatives of Buffalo victims

BUFFALO, NY (AP) — Relatives of the 10 black people who were slain at a Buffalo supermarket pleaded with the nation Thursday to confront and stop the racist violence, their agony spilling over into the tears of a 12-year-old child, a few hours after the white The man accused of the murders silently faced a murder indictment in court.

Jaques “Jake” Patterson, who lost his father, covered his face with his hands as his mother spoke at a press conference. Once she was done, Jake collapsed into the arms of Reverend Al Sharpton, the veteran civil rights activist, and wept silently, using his T-shirt to wipe away his tears.

“His heart is broken,” said his mother, Tirzah Patterson, adding that her son was having trouble sleeping and eating.

“As a mother, what am I supposed to do to help her through this?” she says.

Her ex-husband, Heyward Patterson, a 67-year-old deacon, was shot dead at Tops Friendly Market on Saturday. So did Robin Harris’ 86-year-old mother and best friend, Ruth Whitfield, on a day when they were supposed to go see the touring Broadway show ‘Ain’t Too Proud’.

“This racist young man took my mom away,” Harris said, shaking and tapping her foot as she spoke.

“How dare you!” Harris shouted viscerally.

“I need this violence to stop,” she added. “We have to solve this problem, and we have to solve it now.”

Earlier in the day, in another part of town, accused gunman Payton Gendron, 18, appeared briefly in court to learn he was charged with the murders.

“Payton, you are a coward!” someone shouted from the gallery of the courtroom as he was led away.

Gendron, whose attorney pleaded not guilty for him in an earlier court appearance, did not speak. His lawyers later declined to comment. He is being held without bond and is due back in court on June 9.

Authorities are investigating the possibility of hate crime and terrorism charges against Gendron, who apparently detailed his assault plans and racist motivation in hundreds of pages of writings. he posted online shortly before filming. It was streamed live from a helmet-mounted camera.

“We must hold accountable everyone who has aided and abetted hatred in this country,” Sharpton said at the press conference outside Buffalo’s Antioch Baptist Church. Civil rights group the National Action Network plans to cover the funeral costs of those killed.

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The carnage at Tops supermarket was disturbing even in a country that had become almost immune to mass shootings. Thirteen people were shot in total, all but two black. Gendron’s online writings indicate that he planned the assault after becoming infatuated with the white supremacist ideology he encountered online.

“I constantly think about what could have been done,” Mark Talley said at the families’ press conference, holding a photo of his murdered mother, Geraldine Talley, 62. Her fiancé, who survived the shooting, saw her shot and killed, her son says.

Inaction in the face of the threat of white supremacist violence, Talley said, led to last weekend’s bloodshed.

“It’s like Groundhog Day. We have seen this time and time again,” he said.

Stephen Belongia, the FBI’s senior agent in Buffalo, told a news conference that agents were still working to piece together Gendron’s motives and how he came to his extremist views. Investigators reviewed the online documents, which included a diary on the Discord chat platform.

The diary indicates that Gendron planned his attack in secret, without outside help. Half an hour before opening fire, he invited a small group of people to see his writings, discord says.

Fifteen Discord users agreed, according to a person familiar with the investigation who was not authorized to speak about it publicly.

It was unclear how quickly these people saw what he wrote or if any attempted to alert law enforcement.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has authorized state Attorney General Letitia James to investigate whether the social media companies used by Gendron were responsible for “providing a platform to plan and promote violence “.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Thursday that social media users can also play a role in speaking up when they see people posting violent or threatening content.

“You have to get these people out,” he told a briefing. “Expose those who hold these kinds of extreme views, and let us root them out.”

At the families’ press conference, Tirzah Patterson had another request.

“I need the village to help me raise and be here for my son,” she said, asking people to pray “for God to give us strength to get through this.”

“We are the village,” chanted civil rights attorney Ben Crump, encouraging other family members of the victims to join us.


Associated Press writers Michael Hill in Albany, Matt O’Brien in Providence, Rhode Island and Jennifer Peltz in New York contributed.

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