Relatives of the 10 slaughtered people at the Buffalo supermarket on Thursday called on the nation to stand up to an end to racist violence as their 12-year-old son burst into tears a few hours after the white man accused of the murder was silently confronted. murder charge in court.
Jacques “Jake” Patterson, who lost his father, covered his face with his hands when his mother was speaking at a press conference. When he finished, Jake fell into the arms of Reverend Al Sharpton, a veteran civil rights activist, and wept silently, using his T-shirt to wipe away tears.
“His heart is broken,” said his mother, Theresa Patterson, adding that his son had difficulty sleeping and eating.
“As a mother, what can I do to help her cope?” he said.
Her ex-husband, 67-year-old church deacon Hayward Patterson, was shot dead at Tops Friendly Market on Saturday. That was the case with Robin Harris’ 86-year-old mother and best friend, Ruth Whitfield, on the day they went to see Broadway’s Ain’t Too Proud tour.
“That racist young man took my mother,” Harris said, trembling and squeezing his legs as he spoke.
“How dare you!” Harris shouted loudly.
“I want this violence to end,” he added. “We have to fix it, we have to fix it now.”
Earlier in the day, Peyton Gendron, an 18-year-old militant accused in another part of the city, appeared in court shortly after hearing that he had been charged with murder.
“Peyton, you are a coward.” Someone shouted in the courtroom as he was being taken away.
Gendron, whose lawyer had previously pleaded not guilty in court, did not speak. His lawyers later declined to comment. He is detained without bail, he will return to court on June 9.
Authorities are investigating allegations of hate crime and terrorism against Gendron, who allegedly detailed his plans for the attack and his racist motives in hundreds of pages of writings he published shortly before the online shootings. It was broadcast live from a camera mounted on a helmet.
“We must hold accountable all those who helped to incite hatred in this country,” Sharpton told a news conference near the Baptist Church in Antioch, Buffalo. A group of civil rights activists, the National Action Network, plans to cover the funeral expenses of those killed.
The massacre at the Tops supermarket was disturbing even in a country that was almost unaware of the mass shootings. A total of 13 people were shot, all but two of them black. Gendron’s online posts say he planned the attack after falling in love with the white supremacist ideology he encountered online.
“I’m constantly thinking about what could be done,” Mark Talli told a family news conference, holding a photo of his slain mother, 62-year-old Geraldine Tally. his son said.
Tally says inaction on the threat of violence by whites led to bloodshed last weekend.
“It simply came to our notice then. “We have seen it again and again,” he said.
Steven Bellongia, the FBI’s chief agent in Buffalo, told reporters that the agents were still working on Gendron’s motives for how he had come to terms with his extremist views. Investigators were reviewing online documents that included a personal diary on the Discord chat platform.
The newspaper reported that Gendron planned his attack secretly, without outside help. Half an hour before opening fire, he invited a small group of people to see his writings, Discord said.
Fifteen Discord users admitted, according to a person familiar with the investigation, that he was not authorized to speak publicly about it.
It was not clear how quickly those people saw what he had written, or whether anyone had tried to call law enforcement.
New York Governor Katie Hochul has authorized Attorney General Leticia James to investigate whether the social media companies Gendron used were responsible for “providing a platform for planning and promoting violence.”
Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Thursday that social media users can also play a role when they see people posting violent or threatening content.
“You have to get these people out,” he said at the briefing. “Identify those who expose those kinds of extremist views, let them eradicate them.”
Theresa Patterson had one more request at the family press conference.
“I need the village to help me grow up, to be here for my son,” he said, asking people to pray, “May God give us the strength to go through all this.”
“We are the village,” chanted civil rights activist Ben Trump, urging other members of the victims’ families to join.
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