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Buffalo supermarket reopens Friday, two months after deadly mass shooting

15 July 2022

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo supermarket that became the scene of a massacre reopened Friday, a day after the suspect was indicted on hate crime charges. 

CBS2’s Elijah Westbrook traveled to Buffalo to spend time in the community and get reaction to the reopening. 

The long fence that surrounded the parking lot and Tops grocery store for two months finally came down, and customers were able to go in. Lagayette Washington was one of the first. 

“It was surreal, but it was happy. They did an awesome job,” she told Westbrook. 

The feeling of going back in was overwhelming for Washington. She said she was blown away by the completely renovated store, which now includes a memorial waterfall honoring the 10 victims who were murdered. 

“The memorial is absolutely amazing. Life is like a waterfall, and it’s going to live forever, so is this Tops,” she said. 

It has felt like two long months for some residents in the East Buffalo community. Many had to rely on buses to stores in other neighborhoods or food giveaways.  

“There’s a lot of people here who are walkers,” resident Veronica Hamphill-Nichols said. “It’s not like we can get to another supermarket.”

Tops, the only major supermarket of its size in the area, has been closed following the racist attack, when police said a white gunman who specifically targeted Black people went on a shooting rampage. 

But the upstate community is still recovering, and some are split over whether they will shop there again.

“Our community is still grieving. We need time to respond, to think about what’s next for our community,” said resident Jalonda Hill. “Maybe it’s a store that stays here, maybe it’s a memorial park. but give our community time to discuss that.”

Hundreds of people have already signed a petition on Change.org demanding the store be torn down and a memorial park be built in its place. 

Many Westbrook spoke with said they will shop there again, unsure of how they will feel but ready for the community transformation to begin. 

“It’s a tragedy. It’s time to move on,” resident Gino Haney said. “East Buffalo is going to change, I hope, in the future, and we’ll see what happens.”

Security has been increased both inside and outside the store, with guards and electronic surveillance. Parking lot lighting has also been improved. 

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