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Buffalo’s Tops Supermarket reopens after shooting massacre

by Ezekiel J. Walker
Buffalo's Tops Supermarket reopens after shooting massacre

 After extensive renovations, the supermarket in Buffalo, New York, where a deadly mass shooting occurred in May is officially reopening Friday.

The Tops Friendly supermarket was closed for months as the site of an active law enforcement investigation into the mass shooting.

Per NPR, the shooter, now 19, is facing 27 counts — including 10 hate crimes resulting in death and three counts of hate crimes involving an attempt to kill, along with 13 counts of using, carrying or discharging a firearm — following the deadly racist attack at the Tops supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood.  All 10 of those who died were Black.

According to ABC News, the store has undergone renovations in the aftermath of the racially motivated attack, in which the suspected gunman fired more than 60 shots from a high-powered, AR-15-style rifle.

The suspect was arraigned on a 25-count indictment on June 2 and faces life without parole if found guilty. Federal hate crime charges were also filed against the suspect on June 15.

TOPS reopens as the Black Buffalo processes its trauma

According to WKBW, Tops Friendly Markets President John Persons said the store would reopen by the end of July and would be completely remodeled with a different feel and look.

“We understand the important role this store plays in this community and we are committed to reopening our Jefferson avenue location in the right way at the right time, with the best in class amenities that you see in all of our stores,” Tops Friendly Markets stated in a press release in late May.

A dedication ceremony for the store’s reopening was held Thursday afternoon and included a community prayer and a moment of silence for the victims.

While the store is reopening today, Buffalo’s Black community members say it will take time to embrace the new store as their own, given the trauma forever linked to the location.

Community activist Liz Bosley told CNN she has talked to a lot of residents, particularly the elderly, who are terrified of going back into the Tops location. Some wish Tops would have demolished the store and rebuilt it so people wouldn’t have to relive the devastation, she said.

“There’s definitely fear that it’s going to happen again,” Bosley said. “If they see a White person in the area, their mind starts wandering. People are afraid.”

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