Mourners attended a private funeral at the Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church in Buffalo, New York, Friday for Deacon Heyward Patterson, a 67-year-old who was at the Tops grocery store to pick up supplies for the church’s food kitchen when he became the victim of a hate-filled mass shooting.
"His loving memories remain in the hearts of many family and friends," an obituary posted by the Thomas Edward Funeral Home reads.
Patterson was being buried at St. Matthew’s Cemetery, just a mile and a half from where a gunman took his life in an unprovoked attack.
"From what I understand, he was assisting somebody putting their groceries in their car when he was shot and killed," said the Rev. Russell Bell. "Deacon Patterson was a man who loved people. He loved the community just as much as he loved the church."
Payton Gendron, a White 18-year-old from hundreds of miles away, allegedly drove to Buffalo last week from the outskirts of Binghamton with multiple weapons, body armor and a streaming camera glued to his tactical helmet before opening fire at a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood.
The Justice Department is calling the attack "a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism," and President Biden called it an act of domestic terrorism during a visit to the city Tuesday.
The suspect was being held without bail and on suicide watch. If convicted on the state charges, he will serve life in prison. Federal authorities have also opened an investigation.
At a court appearance Friday, someone inside the courtroom was escorted out after exclaiming, "Payon, you’re a coward!"
In addition to Heyward, the other slain victims include Roberta A. Drury, 32; Margus D. Morrison, 52; Andre Mackneil of Auburn, 53; Aaron Salter, 55; Geraldine Talley, 62; Celestine Chaney, 65; Katherine Massey, 72; Pearl Young, 77; and Ruth Whitfield; 86.
Those who suffered non-life threatening injuries include Zaire Goodman, 20; Jennifer Warrington, 50; and Christopher Braden, 55.
Fox News’ Audrey Conklin and Lawrence Richard contributed to this report.