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Buffalo community reflects, mourns 6 months after Tops shooting

How life has changed after Buffalo shooting
Buffalo community members reflect on grocery store mass shooting six months later 06:31

Six months have passed since the mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, took the lives of 10 people and injured three others. 

Since the shooting at Tops Friendly Markets on May 14, members of the community have mourned the losses of friends and family, the store was redesigned and reopened a few months after the tragedy, and a grand jury indicted the suspected shooter on federal hate crimes charges. 

On Monday, Nov. 14, a moment of silence will be held in Buffalo, "the city of good neighbors."

But for some, navigating life during the last six months has been tough.

"It's been hell on Earth," Zeneta Everhart told CBS News' Jeff Glor. 

Everhart's son Zaire started his first job at Tops on Jefferson Avenue less than a year before the shooting. He was shot through the neck and survived.

Others did not, including Garnell Whitfield's 86-year-old mother, Ruth. Whitfield, the city's former fire commissioner, wasn't surprised that the suspect targeted Black people.

"We know for a fact that racism and bigotry and white supremacy, all of those things — they've always been here," Whitfield told CBS News. "I think that the only difference today and the rest of my prior years is that they've taken the hoods off. They used to wear hoods, they used to hide themselves. Now, they're doing it out in the open."

Mass Shooting in Buffalo New York Leaves 10 Dead
BUFFALO, NY - MAY 18: A memorial across the street from Tops Friendly Market at Jefferson Avenue and Riley Street on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 in Buffalo, NY. The Supermarket was the site of a fatal shooting of 10 people at a grocery store in a historically Black neighborhood of Buffalo by a young white gunman is being investigated as a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism, according to federal officials. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) Kent Nishimura

Tim Hogues, president of New York State's Civil Service Commission, arrived at the scene of the mass shooting before police. Hogues said he saw bodies lying in the parking lot. 

"I haven't been able to go into the store since it's opened," he said.

In the wake of the shootings, outreach immediately began. The area a few blocks away that used to feature the Buffalo Bills stadium in the 1950s and 1960s was used to provide counseling and give out food with the neighborhood's sole grocery store closed.

Meanwhile, Everhart launched "Zeneta and Zaire's Book Club," which has received thousands of donations.

"Education is key to solving the problem of racism," Everhart said. "Kids were not born hating other cultures and other people. It's taught to us. And so if children are taught that Black people are just like them, and they have lives just like them, and we start at a very young age, you will eradicate racism."

Mayor Byron Brown, Buffalo's longest serving and first Black mayor, hopes the situation can serve a broader purpose. 

"We want to make sure that Buffalo is remembered so that we can prevent this from happening in other places in the country."

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