BUFALA, New York – Roberto Drury, a 32-year-old woman who was the youngest of 10 black people killed in a Buffalo supermarket, was remembered at her funeral Saturday for “that smile that could light a room,” as the city noted one week after the shooting sad moments of silence.

Robbie, as she was called, grew up in the Syracuse area and moved to Buffalo ten years ago to help her brother fight leukemia. She was shot dead on May 14 while traveling to buy groceries at Tops Friendly Market, the target of a white gunman.

“There are no words to fully express the depth and breadth of this tragedy,” said Friar Nicholas Spana, parish vicar of the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin, during a funeral service in Syracuse, near where Drure grew up in Cicero.

“Last Saturday, May 14, our corner of the world changed forever,” he said. “Life is over. Dreams were shattered, and our state plunged into mourning. “

Drury’s family wrote in her obituary that she “could not walk a few steps without meeting a new friend.”

“Robbie always cared about someone when she saw them, always made sure they felt noticed and loved,” her sister Amanda said in a text before the service.

After being buried in the Tops store in Buffalo the mood was a mixture of tension and gloomy reflections when the city celebrated one week after the racist massacre.

Exactly at 14:30, at the moment when the militant opened fire, the people who gathered and laid flowers at the corner where the memory of the victims is honored, observed a minute of silence. A dozen workers lined up at the entrance to the Tops store. Some mourners were crying nearby.

Meanwhile, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and other elected officials as well as Tops President John Parsons bowed their heads on the steps of City Hall for 123 seconds to mark the time of the attack. Prayer houses across the city were encouraged to ring bells 13 times in honor of the 10 killed and three wounded.

Joshua Kelik, a consultant on mental health and drug addiction in Buffalo, said the victim, Geraldine Telly, 62, was a friend. She worked as a secretary in his office, but she was the glue that kept their working family together, he said at the store.

“She was just loving and giving. She did her best to help everyone. She was a mother, a grandmother to everyone, but she wasn’t really like that,” said Kelik, who met with several of Telly’s former colleagues to observe a minute of silence.

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Jacob Blake Sr., the father of Jacob Blake Jr., a black man paralyzed after several police shootings in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 2020, said he flew to the city from the Chicago area to support the families of the victims. . When his son was shot, Blake said, he needed real support.

“I needed someone to just hold my hand,” he said. “I just want families to know we’re here to give them what they need.”

Spana said that when Drury was put to rest, mourners will remember her “kindness … love for family and friends, her perseverance, her perseverance and, above all, the smile that could light up the room.”

She was the second victim of the shooting to be honored.

A private service was held on Friday for Hayward Patterson, a favorite deacon at the church near the supermarket. Additional funerals were scheduled for the following week.

Returning to the memorial, Kelik, who is white, said the motives of the shooter and the reality of systemic racism in the country evoked a moment of personal reflection.

“I have a lot to learn,” he said. “I really need to look at my beliefs. I have a daughter at home. I need to focus on teaching her to love and care for people, regardless of their gender, age, gender, race, sexual orientation. ”

Sher Desi, the niece of 86-year-old victim Ruth Whitfield, said she would use her grief to push for change across the country.

“I don’t want anyone to leave here and judge people by their race, religion or where they come from,” said Daisy, who now lives in Orlando, Florida, but often returns to Buffalo to visit her aunt. . “How many people should be devastated? The senseless murder must stop. “

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