BUFFALO, N.Y. — Andre Mackniel ran into the Jefferson Avenue Tops location on May 14 to pick up a birthday cake for his 3-year-old son.
He was one of the 10 victims of a racially motivated domestic terrorism attack on May 14. Thirteen people in total were shot.
Friends and family gathered at Antioch Baptist Church on Fillmore Avenue on Friday to celebrate his life and lay him to rest.
There were hugs and tears outside the church steps as people filed outside after the service. At the request of the family, the media did not enter the church so the service could be private.
Mackniel was born in Buffalo but lived in Auburn, New York, about two hours away near Syracuse.
When President Biden visited Buffalo to meet with victims' families, the President choked up while mentioning that Mackneil simply went to Tops for a birthday cake for his son.
Mackniel's sister, Rosa, told the President that changes need to happen.
"Change in our education system, speaking about racism at a young age, you are taught that you're not born racist," Rosa said.
U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins and Buffalo Police commissioner Joseph Gramaglia were in attendance briefly. Gramaglia also attended two other victims' funerals Friday.
According to his obituary, Mackniel loved basketball, playing guitar, and writing poetry.
"I'm hoping he doesn't die in vain," Andre's sister Rosa told 2 On Your Side's Claudine Ewing. "I hope something is able to happen in a positive way, to end racism we need to come together and make positive change."
Mackniel was 53 years old.
Local attorney John Elmore is representing Mackniel's family, as is a Connecticut law firm that represented families of the Sandy Hook shooting in 2021.