Local civil rights activists held a memorial vigil Sunday for the victims of Saturday’s mass shooting in Buffalo, where 10 people were killed in what authorities have called a racially motivated hate crime.
“The heinous murder of at least 10 persons clearly targeted because of race again points up the extreme peril of racial violence in the nation. Our vigil for the victims and the call for California senators to press for passage on the stalled gun violence prevention bill will underscore that peril and need,” Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson said during Sunday morning’s vigil at the Dunbar Hotel south of downtown Los Angeles.
“There are a lot of minds out there that are sick minds, and they’ll see something like this and the next thing you know we’ll have another, and another. It’s almost like a game, trying to top each other,” Hutchinson added.
“… We’re not saying that one law is going to solve everything, but at least it does begin to give some indication the country, the elected officials and all the others are deeply concerned about this.”
A number of gun-related bills are pending in the California Legislature, including one that would allow individuals and the state attorney general to sue manufacturers and sellers of firearms for the harm caused by their product.
“There’ll be more Buffalos,” Hutchinson said. “… because violence has gotten out of hand, guns have gotten out of hand, murders have gotten out of hand, and most importantly and significantly, people of color and African Americans are under attack.”
In the Buffalo shooting, 18-year-old Payton Gendron of Conklin, New York, has pleaded not guilty to first degree murder.
Authorities said Gendron drove about three-and-a-half hours from Conklin to Buffalo and shot up the Tops Friendly Market around 2:30 p.m. local time Saturday. The market is located in a Black community.
He allegedly was armed with an assault weapon, tactical gear and a helmet, and authorities also said he had a camera that was livestreaming his actions. Thirteen people were shot and 10 died. Eleven of the 13 targets were Black.
Federal authorities are conducting a hate crime investigation amid reports that the suspect posted a lengthy manifesto online that made claims of ethnic and cultural replacement of white people.
CNN is also reporting that an official familiar with the investigation said Gendron “made very disturbing statements describing his motive and state of mind following his arrest” that were “filled with hate toward the Black community.”
Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia also said Gendron made a general threat as a student at Susquehanna Valley Central High School in June 2021, adding that he underwent a mental health evaluation and was released after a day and a half.