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First of funerals for 10 killed at Buffalo grocery set for Friday -Breaking

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© Reuters. An American man prays near a memorial that was built at the site of an incident at Tops supermarket in Buffalo. It happened on May 19, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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By Tyler Clifford

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Friday’s first funeral will be for one of the 10 victims in a video-streamed shooting that was carried out by an 18 year-old man from Buffalo. The incident took place at a grocery store in a Black neighbourhood in Buffalo.

Deacon Heyward Patterson (67) will be honored by family members and friends in a private memorial service that’s not open to the media. The service will be held at Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church. It is less than one mile away from Tops Friendly Markets, where thirteen people, 11 of which were Black, were killed by a gunman using an assault rifle.

Patterson, who many called Deke/Deacon Deacon was a consistent presence at Tops. Tops was the only grocery in the majority Black community of Buffalo’s east side, as stated by Yvonda, a 55-year old hair stylist.

Patterson was a kind, friendly man who would offer rides for elderly customers – or “jitneying”, in local parlance. He drove his car.

He was my best friend all of his life. King said that King would always give his shirt to anyone who asked. King said, “He was there everyday, helping elderly people get about, and anyone else who has to go jitneying.”

Patterson is the oldest child of seven and was born in South Carolina. He moved to Buffalo at an early age with his family. According to the Los Angeles Times, Patterson was also a husband and father of three children as well as several grandchildren.

Tirzah Patterson stated at Thursday’s press conference that she recently split from her husband. But, they still continued to raise their 12 year-old son.

She said, “I need to raise my son and have a village,”

Heyward Patterson was a deacon in the State Tabernacle Church of God and Christ, which is located near Tops. According to the Times, Patterson volunteered at the soup kitchen of the church.

Some of the victims will be receiving services next week. Others are still being arranged.

Authorities said that the rampage on Saturday, in which the gunman planned to kill as many Blacks as possible, touched a nerve within a nation used to mass shootings.

Payton Gendron was briefly in court Thursday as a suspect in the case which has sparked a national discussion about the interplay of hate, guns and the internet.

Gendron was charged in Erie County with the single charge of first-degree murder. If convicted, Gendron could spend life behind bars without parole.

FBI says the FBI is looking into this shooting because it was a hate crime, and an act of “racially motivated violence extremism.”

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