New York Gov. Kathy Hochul joined a Buffalo Baptist congregation for worship on Sunday as the community mourned the loss of 10 victims who were killed during Saturday’s mass shooting at a local Tops grocery story.
Hochul joined several other public speakers, including Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, at True Bethel Baptist Church’s Sunday morning worship. The congregation met less than 24 hours after 18-year-old Payton Gendron allegedly opened fire at a Tops Friendly Market store on Saturday, killing 10 people and wounding at least three others.
Eleven of the victims were Black individuals, while the remaining two victims were White, authorities have said.
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The New York governor called the gunman a "coward" as she told an emotional audience, "an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us, because we are all God’s people."
She said the mass shooting was "personal" to her and her family. Hochul’s public service career got its start in Erie County, where the Tops store is located, and her husband was the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York.
"Yes, Lord, forgive the anger in my heart," Hochul told the congregation, "but channel that into my passion to continue to fight to protect people, get the guns off the streets and silence the voices of hatred and racism and white supremacy all over the Internet."
Gendron, who is White, pulled up to the Tops grocery store around 2:30 p.m. and immediately began firing off shots – wounding four people in front of the market before making his way inside, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said. Three of the four victims died.
Once inside, he exchanged fire with store security guard Aaron Salter, who was a retired police officer, officials have said. Salter fired several rounds at Gendron before the suspect fatally shot him, Gramaglia said.
Gendron then allegedly made his way around the store shooting several other victims. When confronted by police, Gendron placed the rifle to his neck before dropping the weapon and surrendering, the police chief said.
Speaking to the congregation on Sunday, Hochul said Saturday’s attack was "in a league of its own."
"This is a whole new dimension where you have attacked people because of the color of the skin, because you are a coward," she said. "And I want to silence those voices now and make sure that, yes, people will talk about Buffalo, but I want them to talk about Buffalo as the last place this ever happened."
Mayor Brown told the True Bethel congregation it was "a blessing to wake up this morning, because some members of our community did not wake up this morning."
"All these good, innocent members of our community shopping, working, looking out for each other and their families," Brown said. "Their lives and their examples should be examples to us that we have to love more, we have to care about each other more, because we don’t know when our time might come."
Community members have erected memorials near the crime scene and elsewhere throughout the city in the aftermath of the tragedy. And several other community groups planned vigils and events on Sunday morning in honor of the victims.
Voice Buffalo, the Stop the Violence Coalition and the Buffalo Peacemakers organized a vigil for 9 a.m. Sunday near Tops. St. John’s Baptist Church and Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church also planned special services, at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., respectively.
Buffalo Community Fridge has also planned a special event for 11:30 a.m. Sunday. The organization is collecting food donations for any Tops shoppers who have been impacted by Saturday’s mass shooting.
And demonstrators marched in front of the store around 11 a.m., holding flowers and singing chants, including, "No justice, no peace" and "Black lives matter."
Gendron was arraigned late Saturday and pleaded not guilty. He was ordered held without bail and is due back in court on Thursday.
Fox News' Stephen Goin contributed to this report.