Buffalo victim’s daughter breaks down at press conference; lawyer announces potential lawsuits
The families of four victims of the Tops Friendly Market shooting in Buffalo, NY, shared their grief at a press conference held Thursday by longtime civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton and National Advocate for the civil rights Ben Crump, who said they plan to sue everyone. whom they believe to be responsible for the attack.
Robin Harris, the eldest daughter of Ruth Whitfield, 86, couldn’t hold back her anger as she addressed the public and the 18-year-old suspect accused of killing her mother and nine others in the racist rampage.
“How dare you!” she shouted into the microphone, addressing Payton Gendron, who pleaded not guilty to first degree murder. “This racist young man took my mother away.”
Before her was Tirzah Patterson, the ex-wife of Deacon Heyward Patterson, who showed up with their 12-year-old son.
“He was a good father, he took care of him. He lacked nothing,” she said as her son covered his face.
“Her heart is broken… what am I supposed to do to help her through this? I need a village to help me raise and be here for my son because he has no father.
On Saturday afternoon, the alleged gunman, wearing a bulletproof vest and streaming live on Twitch, killed 10 black shoppers and employees at the supermarket. Three other people were injured, including another black and two white people.
The shooting occurred in a predominantly black neighborhood. Authorities are investigating the attack as a hate crime after the white shooter allegedly left behind a manifesto and showed the word N painted on the weapon in the live stream.
The video, at one point, shows the shooter pointing his rifle at a white person, saying “excuse meand decide not to shoot him as he moves forward.
Crump said he planned to go after gun manufacturers, distributors and “anyone else who was complicit with this 18-year-old white supremacist.”
He said: “They may not have pulled the trigger, but all these people who organized the hate loaded the gun.”
Crump added that pursuing legal action could involve suing Gendron’s parents, and said they would work with the Brady Center, a nonprofit organization that campaigns for gun control.
Sharpton said the “age of hate” must end.
“They didn’t shoot them down for what they were but for what they were,” he said. “The gun was fired at all of us.”
Sharpton added that there would be a vigil for the victims at 7 p.m. in Buffalo.
According to the Associated Press, the NAACP is also getting involved by suggesting a policy approach in a proposal that could be taken up by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. It would focus on preventing future acts of anti-Black domestic terrorism.
Crump was adamant that the Buffalo attack should be considered a form of domestic terrorism.
As for Harris, she celebrated her mother on Mother’s Day and said it would be one of the last memories she will have of her.
“I took my last picture of my mom on Mother’s Day, she looked so beautiful. This picture can’t replace her.