‘Just horrifying’: People react to alleged racially motivated mass shooting in Buffalo

Published: May. 16, 2022 at 5:25 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - People across the nation are sharing their thoughts after a mass shooting Saturday afternoon at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

A white gunman motivated by hate and dressed in tactical gear killed 10 people and wounded three others, reports say. The suspected shooter, now identified as 18-year-old Payton Gendron, drove more than 200 miles to a predominantly black neighborhood in Buffalo to shoot and kill a crowd of people inside a Tops Friendly Market. Eleven of the victims were black and two were white.

People in downtown Montgomery Sunday gave their reaction to the tragedy. Karen Childs Smith was visiting Montgomery from Georgia, but she is originally from Rochester, New York, just an hour away from where the shooting took place.

“It’s just horrifying that you’re not safe any place you go,” Smith said. “My first instinct was just horror and shock. I was thinking that it could have been my family that still lives in Rochester.”

Montgomery pastor Kyle Searcy discusses the weekend massacre that struck Buffalo, New York.

Another native from Rochester was visiting Montgomery this weekend. Dave Radigan voiced his disbelief at the tragedy that hit so close to home.

“It’s absolutely shocking to me that things like this are still happening in this world,” Radigan said. “Not just the gun violence, but also the fact that it’s racially motivated. I mean, it’s just unbelievable in this day in age that that sort of thing could still happen.”

It’s something Gary Davis from the United Kingdom said doesn’t happen in their country.

“We see a lot of this is in the news from this country. It seems to happen quite a lot,” Davis said. “To me, he didn’t look old enough to drive, let alone have a rifle.”

Some fear that their family may be next.

“It makes you fearful because people hate you, they don’t even know you and they hate you,” Smith said. “They see you as something less than human, sub-human, and for no particular reason you become a target.”

Eddie Arrington is from Montgomery, he is hopeful that one day there will be change.

“We all know Montgomery was a very racial place at one time, but Montgomery now (compared) to back to then, it’s like day and night out here with the racial tension and if Montgomery could have changed, I feel like everywhere can,” Arrington said.

Arlene Coleman was visiting the city from Chicago. She had just spent the weekend visiting various civil rights history museums and monuments in the capital city when she heard the news about the shooting.

“Being here in Montgomery, I had an opportunity to visit the Legacy Museum, which I went back to today just to visit again. This history of violence in the United States I think that collectively we have to do something about it.”

One of the victims has ties to the Birmingham area. Celestine Chaney was 65 years old. Her family said Chaney was shopping with her sister at the time of the shooting.

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