To honor the victims of the mass shooting at its store in Buffalo, N.Y., Tops Friendly Markets is encouraging people to join Tops stores in a collective moment of tribute and reflection at 2:30 p.m. May 21, seven days after the tragic shooting.
“The impact of this tragedy stretches across our community and nation. We stand together as we remember them and pray that their families may find the strength needed to heal and move forward,” said John Persons, president of Tops Friendly Markets, in a release. Persons recently spoke to WGB about Tops' on-the-ground response to the shooting.
He added, “Everyone involved deserves our thanks and our prayers. To our Tops associates who did everything in their power to selflessly protect each other and our customers. To law enforcement and our first responders, we thank you for your service and bravery. To the strength of our community leaders during this incredibly difficult time. And to our neighbors and so many others that have rallied together to provide respite and support of almost every kind imaginable.”
Earlier this week and in partnership with the National Compassion Fund, Tops created the Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund to "provide direct financial assistance to the survivors of the deceased and those directly affected by this tragedy.” Tops seeded the fund with $500,000, and those wishing to make an online contribution can do so at the Buffalo Survivors Fund page on GoFundMe.com.
One hundred percent of contributions to the fund will go to affected families and individuals, including those injured in the shooting "and those who were present in the store and experienced psychological trauma,” Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops said.
On May 21, Tops will honor the 10 who were killed and the three who were injured. The departed, all from New York, include Roberta A. Drury of Buffalo; Margus D. Morrison of Buffalo; Andre Mackneil, of Auburn; Aaron Salter of Lockport; Geraldine Talley of Buffalo; Celestine Chaney of Buffalo; Heyward Patterson of Buffalo; Katherine Massey of Buffalo; Pearl Young of Buffalo; and Ruth Whitfield of Buffalo.
Those injured, all also from New York, were Zaire Goodman of Buffalo; Jennifer Warrington of Tonawanda; and Christopher Braden of Lackawanna.