BUFFALO, N.Y. — The attorneys and families of those killed or injured in the mass shooting in Buffalo on May 14 spoke out against racism after the suspect pleaded guilty.
Many of the relatives of those victims sat and watched in the courtroom, some dabbing their eyes and sniffling. Speaking to reporters later, several said the plea left them cold and that it didn’t address the bigger problem of racism in America.
“His voice made me feel sick, but it showed me I was right,” said Zeneta Everhart, whose 21-year-old son Zaire was shot in the neck and survived. “This country has a problem. This country is inherently violent. It is racist. And his voice showed that to me.”
Many of the families were upset at how differently they say Gendron was treated, and continues to be treated, compared to Black men.
"Let's think about why he was taken into custody. When others can have their hands up, and they're not taken into custody. They end up in the ground with bullets in them. My mother had bullets in her," Pearl Young's daughter Pam said.
"I did not know the full extent until I came here today, and I had been saying to myself, 'Pam, maybe somehow she was taken immediately, but that's not what I heard today. What I heard was that she was shot a couple of times before the fatal shot. And what do you think, how does that make me feel now?"
Geraldine Talley's son Mark, said justice won't be served until racism is addressed in our country. He said he hopes that Gendron serves his sentence nearby, and lives in fear while in prison.
"I want him to live with that fear. I want that feat to eat him up inside. Because that's the same fear that my mother went through. She was the last victim. I saw that video when it first started leaking, and I saw the two shots going into the side of her head. So I want him to feel the fear that my mother felt, that something horrific is going to happen to him. And I think the best chance of that is going to happen in Erie County. May sound dark, may not be the right thing to say. I really don't care. I want that pain to eat at him, every second of every day for the rest of his life."
(Editor's note: This article includes reporting by Carolyn Thompson from the Associated Press.