Plans unveiled for memorial honoring victims of racist mass shooting at Buffalo supermarket

May 13, 2024, 2:39 PM

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A permanent memorial honoring the 10 Black victims of a racist mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket will feature interconnected stone pillars and arches, and a windowed building where exhibitions and events will be held, community and elected leaders announced Monday.

The design, “Seeing Us,” by Jin Young Song and Douglass Alligood, was revealed a day before the second anniversary of the attack. It was selected from among 20 submissions to the 5/14 Memorial Commission, which was established months after an 18-year-old white gunman opened fire at a Tops supermarket on May 14, 2022.

New York state has committed $5 million to the $15 million project, Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a news conference to unveil the design. Buffalo will contribute $1 million, and a yearlong fundraising campaign is expected to make up the difference.

“As we approach the solemn two-year anniversary of when our neighbors were senselessly slaughtered solely because of the color of their skin, we rededicate ourselves in supporting the East Buffalo community, remembering those we lost, and supporting those who were injured,” she said.

Nine shoppers, ranging in age from 32 to 86, and a retired Buffalo police officer working as a security guard, were killed during the Saturday afternoon attack. Three store employees were wounded.

The Rev. Mark Blue, chairman of the 5/14 Memorial Commission, said the victims’ families were consulted during the design selection process.

“What happened on 5/14 was an act of senseless violence and it was an act of hate,” he said. “It’s my intent to make sure we have a memorial that the families and the communities can be proud of.”

Payton Gendron is serving a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole after he pleaded guilty to state charges of murder and hate-motivated domestic terrorism. He is awaiting trial on separate federal charges and could receive the death penalty if convicted. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.

To mark the second anniversary of the shooting on Tuesday, Tops Friendly Markets will dedicate another memorial near the store and hold a moment of silence at 2:28 p.m., the time of the attack.

Buffalo artist Valeria Cray and her son Hiram Cray, a faculty member at the State University of New York Corning Community College, created a sculpture called “Unity for the Honor Space” for the memorial. The site also features 10 granite bollards.

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Plans unveiled for memorial honoring victims of racist mass shooting at Buffalo supermarket