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President Biden, NY officials react to Buffalo mass shooting

As news of the Buffalo shooting spread, reactions came from numerous officials including President Joe Biden and NY Gov. Kathy Hochul.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The news of a mass shooting at a Tops grocery store in Buffalo has drawn national attention.

Saturday night, President Joe Biden issued the following statement:

"Tonight, we grieve for the families of ten people whose lives were senselessly taken and everyone who is suffering the physical and emotional wounds of this horrific shooting. We are grateful for the bravery of members of law enforcement and other first responders who took immediate action to try to protect and save lives. The First Lady and I are praying for the victims and their families, and hearts all across this country are with the people of Buffalo.

"We still need to learn more about the motivation for today’s shooting as law enforcement does its work, but we don’t need anything else to state a clear moral truth: A racially motivated hate crime is abhorrent to the very fabric of this nation. Any act of domestic terrorism, including an act perpetrated in the name of a repugnant white nationalist ideology, is antithetical to everything we stand for in America. Hate must have no safe harbor. We must do everything in our power to end hate-fueled domestic terrorism."

Vice President Kamala Harris issued the following statement on Sunday:

"Today our hearts are broken and we grieve for the victims of the horrific act of gun violence in Buffalo and for their families and friends. The Second Gentleman and I are praying for all those who knew and lost love ones.

"Law enforcement is proceeding with its investigation, but what is clear is that we are seeing an epidemic of hate across our country that has been evidenced by acts of violence and intolerance. We must call it out and condemn it. Racially-motivated hate crimes or acts of violent extremism are harms against all of us, and we must do everything we can to ensure that our communities are safe from such acts."

NY Gov. Kathy Hochul made an appearance at True Bethel Baptist Church Sunday morning.

"People will talk about Buffalo, but I want them to talk about Buffalo as the last place this ever happened. We will let this end right here because we are going to rise up and all of our white brothers and sisters need to be standing up as well in churches all across this state, all across this nation, because an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us because we are all God's people. And I will use every bit of the power I have as your governor to protect you," she said at the service. 

Gov. Hochul announced Sunday that flags on state buildings will be flown at half-staff on May 16 in honor of the victims. Flags should be lowered to half-staff at sunrise on May 16 and should remain lowered until all of the victims are laid to rest.

"The violence we witnessed at the hands of this white supremacist is sickening, unacceptable and it must stop here," Hochul said. "An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us, and we must confront white supremacy head-on. My heart is with our neighbors in Buffalo, the victims and their families — their legacy will live on."

The news of a mass shooting at the Tops on Jefferson Avenue was broken by Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz in a tweet.

Shortly after, that news was confirmed by the Buffalo Police Department stating there was a mass shooting at the Tops grocery store.

A new statement was issued from Tops on Sunday:

"The Tops family is heartbroken over the senseless violence that impacted our associates and customers at our store on Jefferson Avenue.

"We are working quickly to make sure that all of our associates have access to counseling and support that they may need.

"Tops has been committed to this community and to the city of Buffalo for decades and this tragedy will not change that commitment. We are working to find alternatives for our customers in this community while the store is closed and will provide updates in the near future."

Tops issued the following statement Saturday following the shooting:

"We are shocked and deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Our top priority remains the health and well-being of our associates and customers. We appreciate the quick response of local law enforcement and are providing all available resources to assist authorities in the ongoing investigation."

Support and reaction from local and state officials started to stream in as news came in on the shooting.

"What started out as a beautiful day in the City of Buffalo has turned into a terrible day, and one of tremendous heartbreak for every member of our community," said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.  

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown beginning the first of two press conferences Saturday night with solemn words.

"The depth of pain that families are feeling and that all of us are feeling right now can not even be explained," said Mayor Brown. 

He also addressed racial tensions.

"We are prayerful that this will not exacerbate racial tensions. We can't let an evil person divide this community, and an evil person divide our country," said Mayor Brown.

And, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York vowed to ensure justice is brought to the families and our community.

"This should never happen to anyone in any community. It surely shouldn't happen on a beautiful Saturday when people are just shopping and going through normal life events," said U.S. Attorney Trini Ross.

NYS Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, who represents Buffalo's east side, issued this statement:

"I am distraught and cannot stop the tears from the news of the mass shooting in my district.  At this time, what we know is that this attack was racially motivated.  The shooter committed an act of terror and an act of hate.  I grieve the brutal murder and horrific massacre of innocent lives.  We pray for the victims and their families, who are searching for answers with broken hearts."

Saturday, 2 On Your Side spoke to Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen, who represents the east side, about the shooting.

Here is what he had to say:

Bishop Perry Davis for Stop the Violence Foundation gave the following statement:

"My condolences go out to the families of the victims. It's so sad that this had to happen because we've been praying for a safe summer in Buffalo New York here. And it's absolutely ridiculous."

Hochul flew in from Albany and also shared some strong words.

"It is my sincere hope that this individual, this white supremacist, who just perpetrated a hate crime on an innocent community, will spend the rest of his days behind bars and heaven help him in the next world as well," said Governor Hochul.

Senate Republican leader Rob Ortt issued the following statement:

"The tragic shooting that occurred in a Buffalo supermarket Saturday afternoon is heartbreaking for our community and people all across the state and country. My wife and I are praying for the victims and their families.

"I want to thank the Buffalo Police Department and Emergency Medical Services for quick action in detaining the suspect and aiding the injured.

"New Yorkers stand together in condemning this despicable violence."