Buffalo teen whose aunt and cousin were inside grocery store during attack: ‘We have to come together’

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A Buffalo teen calls on Americans to “come together” and “build each other up” after a hate-fueled mass shooting just blocks from his home left 10 people dead and three more wounded.

President Biden visited the community Tuesday to condemn white supremacy after police arrested Payton Gendron, an 18-year-old from hundreds of miles away, in what FBI Director Christopher Wray calls “a crime of hate and a racially motivated act of violent extremism.

“It’s good to see our president doing something,” Michael Cole told Fox News Digital on Tuesday. “He quit, he showed us some humility.”

Michael Cole lives a few blocks from the Tops Friendly Market, the target of what the FBI calls a “racially motivated” hate crime attack. He said his aunt and his cousin were inside during the massacre. Inset: Alleged killer Payton Gendron, who authorities say streamed the attack via Twitch and posted a hate-filled tirade online.
(Michael Ruiz/Fox News Digital, Inset: Erie County District Attorney)

PRESIDENT BIDEN VISITS BUFFALO, MEETS FAMILIES OF VICTIMS AFTER TOPS MARKET ATTACK

The president’s motorcade arrived at the Tops Friendly Market on Jefferson Avenue around 10 a.m. Biden and first lady Jill Biden approached a makeshift memorial on Landon Street with flowers.

They spent about 10 minutes there before leaving to meet with the victims’ families and responding officers at a nearby community center. Assembled local residents cheered the president’s armored limousine as he pulled out of the parking lot.

“It was great to see, for the first time [time] see the president in my lifetime,” Cole said, despite the circumstances of the commander-in-chief’s visit.

Mourners have erected several memorials around the Tops supermarket area where 10 people were killed and others injured during Saturday's mass shooting.

Mourners have erected several memorials around the Tops supermarket area where 10 people were killed and others injured during Saturday’s mass shooting.
(Fox News Digital/Michael Ruiz)

Cole said he lives in the immediate area and went to the Tops store “almost every day,” and that his cousin and aunt were inside at the time of the massacre.

BUFFALO SHOOTING SURVIVOR REPORTS UNPLEASANT ESCAPE AFTER WITNESSING START OF ‘HATE’ ATTACK

“I feel like if everyone just came together, and everyone was allowed to just be people, I feel like the world would work a lot better,” she said. “That’s what we should be working on, just being a community together, instead of trying to hurt each other… We should all be empowering each other and we should all be one.”

Dean Lewis, a US Army veteran who grew up in the neighborhood and still has relatives who live just blocks from the crime scene, called the attack “senseless and ridiculous.”

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden look at a memorial after a weekend shooting at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, U.S. on May 17, 2022 .

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden look at a memorial after a weekend shooting at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, U.S. on May 17, 2022 .
(REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

He also said he had previously worked with Aaron Salter, the security guard who exchanged gunfire with the attacker and was killed trying to save others.

Gendron is accused of fatally shooting 10 people on Saturday afternoon and livestreaming the alleged hate crime attack on Twitch. Three other people were injured. Eleven of the victims were black, according to city police, and he is accused of posting a 180-page document online explaining his plan and his motives.

“People need to put aside their differences because guess what? There are no differences,” Lewis said. “You bleed the same color as me. If your blood type was mine or vice versa, and you were in a car accident, would you want my blood if it would save your life?”

The deceased victims have been identified as Roberta A. Drury, 32, Margus D. Morrison, 52, Andre Mackneil, 53, Aaron Salter, 55, Geraldine Talley, 62, Celestine Chaney, 65, Heyward Patterson, 67, Katherine Massey, 72 , Pearl Young, 77, and Ruth Whitfield, 86.

This October 24, 2011 photo shows Katherine Massey walking near the corner of Elmwood and Tupper in Buffalo, NY Massey was one of the victims killed in the shooting at a Buffalo grocery store on Saturday.  her sister calls her "a beautiful soul"

This October 24, 2011 photo shows Katherine Massey walking near the corner of Elmwood and Tupper in Buffalo, NY Massey was one of the victims killed in the shooting at a Buffalo grocery store on Saturday. Her sister calls her “a beautiful soul.”
(Robert Kirkham/The Buffalo News via AP)

Three injured survivors were identified as Zaire Goodman, 20, Jennifer Warrington, 50, and Christopher Braden, 55.

FBI Director Christopher Wray called the attack “a hate crime and a racially motivated act of violent extremism.” Federal authorities are seeking additional charges.

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Gendron was charged with first-degree murder in Buffalo City Court. He was arraigned on Saturday night and pleaded not guilty. The judge ordered him held without bail and he is due back in court Thursday. Prosecutors have hinted that additional charges will be filed.

After visiting a makeshift memorial outside the market, Biden met with families of victims and responding officers at a nearby community center. He then addressed the country, condemning the hate and calling for better gun control measures.

“In America, evil will not win, I promise you,” Biden said. “Hate will not prevail. White supremacy will not have the last word. Evil has come to Buffalo. It has come to too many places.”

Emmett Jones and Matteo Cina of Fox News contributed to this report.

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