BUFFALO – Loved ones of several Buffalo Mass Shooting victims joined Reverend Al Sharpton on Thursday, to share more about who was lost in the racially-motivated act of terrorism.
The families of Talley, Mackneil, Patterson, and Whitfield gathered at Antioch Baptist Church with Reverend Sharpton.
“We need legislation and we need policy that’s gonna stop that. But for the next few days, we’re going to grieve with these families, and then we’re going to fight with these families for justice for them,” says Sharpton.
Mark Talley, who’s mother Geraldine Chapman Talley was killed in the attack on Saturday, spoke for the first time since the tragedy, saying these events are becoming like Groundhog’s Day.
“The fact that an 18-year-old man can easily purchase a semi-automatic rifle, and yet people claim the gun laws are too strict, or we’re trying to tread on their right to buy guns, is just sad and depressing,” expresses Talley. “And my mom showed to be a victim of this, because somebody woke up, decided they didn’t like black people, and shot a hollow-point bullet just right here. With her fiancé watching, hiding in the cooler as best as he could.”
Geraldine had recently learned she was about to become a first-time grandmother.
Meanwhile, Veronica White mourns the loss of her nephew Andre Mackneil, who was shopping at Tops for a birthday cake for his son when the attack took place.
“He went to the store and got shot in the back of the head. We found out he was dead on Facebook, and that’s not right,” explains White. “That was not right. And he left behind five kids. His youngest is three years old and he keeps thinking his father is asleep. His father is gone, he won’t even know his father. And I won’t see my nephew no more. And he got a sister and a brother left here, and they won’t see their brother anymore.”
Deacon Heyward Patterson leaves behind ex-wife Tirzah, two daughters, and his 12 year old son Jake, after he served the community by providing transportation to Tops for those in need.
“They took his father. He will grow up fatherless. He has to live even after this. And I have to pray that God give me strength to raise him the best of my ability.”
Tirzah says it will take a village to raise her son to replace the wonderful father Patterson was.
The children of Ruth Whitfield, Garnell, Raymond, Angela, and Robin, shared the memories they have of their mother, who died after visiting her husband in a nursing home and stopping for something to eat.
“The thing that strikes me that that 86-year-old woman who had her first baby at 18 and her last at 25, she spent every day of that life trying to protect us from the very violence she fell to. That is unthinkable,” says Raymond.