As the city of Buffalo, New York, and the nation react to Saturday’s mass shooting in a predominantly black neighborhood in whichAn attorney for the family of an 86-year-old grandmother who was murdered is calling for those who radicalize white supremacists to be held accountable.
In a statement issued on Sunday, attorney Ben Crump, who represents the family of Ruth Whitfield, said: “Yesterday we witnessed the deadliest mass shooting of 2022, perpetrated by a self-proclaimed white supremacist who set out to do one thing: kill people. black… We are fully investigating the shooting and the events leading up to it.”
Appearing on “CBS Mornings” on Monday, Crump said, “It’s important that we not only hold accountable this individual who committed this act of hate, but that we hold accountable those who are curing this hate, who are radicalizing these young white supremacists.”
Police say 18-year-old Payton Gendron traveled about 200 miles from his home in Conklin, New York, to Buffalo to carry out the attack, for which he was heavily armed and wearing tactical gear. He was arrested and has been charged with first-degree murder, in what authorities call a hate crime and a case of racially motivated violent extremism. Gendron has pleaded not guilty.
Referring to a “manifesto” filled with conspiracy theories that the shooter reportedly posted online just before the attack, Crump noted: “He said his intention was to kill as many black people as he could that day. We saw it in Charleston , South Carolina. , with the young white supremacist, and now we’re here in Buffalo, New York. How long before the Anti-Black Hate Crimes Bill passes? Because if we don’t do something meaningful, I’m really scared that we’re going to see something like this happen again in our community.
“We have to turn our attention to these internet sites that inspire these young people who are radicalizing them to be hate mongers, to be people who hate people because of the color of their skin.”
Also on “CBS Mornings,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said the initial investigation indicates the shooting was a premeditated attack. “[He] he wanted to kill as many blacks as possible., a retired Buffalo police lieutenant, would have been more successful in that effort. If it wasn’t for the quick response from the Buffalo Police Department, he certainly would have killed more people in this immediate area.
“This was a racially motivated attack. And it’s scary to know that that kind of racism and hate still exists in our country,” Brown said.
One of the ten people killed was an 86-year-old grandmother, Ruth Whitfield, who had stopped at Tops supermarket after visiting her husband in a nearby nursing home, when she was killed.
Retired Buffalo Fire Department commissioner Garnell Whitfield told “CBS Mornings,” “My parents were married for 67 or 68 years. We were wonderfully blessed to have them all this time. My father had gotten sick and been in this nursing home for the last eight years. My mom was there every day to take care of my dad. Every day. She absolutely loved him. And she was doing what she did every day. And she left there and she spent by the store on the way home for groceries and ran into this guy.
“She didn’t answer her phone. And the nursing home is just a few blocks from the scene here. By not answering her phone, [I] I just walked through the scene here and was able to make sure his vehicle was in the parking lot here at the store.”
When asked how her family is processing this news, Garnell said: “It’s so hard. This is just surreal. We’re in a place we never expected to be. My mom was the glue that held us together. My mom was the my father’s mother.” vigilant.
“We haven’t shared this information with my father. We don’t know if that’s what’s best for him. We don’t know how to proceed. We need to check with his caregivers, with his doctors, and find out. We don’t know how to proceed with this. We don’t know if he should attend the memorial service. We don’t know how we’re going to care for him in the future in a way that’s consistent with what my mother would have wanted. And so we have a tough road ahead of us.”