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'I just want be here': Good Neighbors share a moment of silence 1 week after Tops massacre

Heads bowed, eyes closed, and some kneeled close to the names of the dead at the Tops store on Jefferson Avenue during 123 seconds of silence.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Tops may be closed, but groceries still exchange hands on Jefferson Avenue Saturday morning.

There is an open air market with free supplies to anyone who needs them just yards from the site of Saturday's deadly shooting, a shop familiar to Razyia Hill long before it was broadcast to the rest of the world.

"I shop at the Tops. I live in this community. I was raised in this community. I remember when the Tops was built. So I just want be here,” she said, repeating herself. “I just want be here.”

Hill founded Every Bottom Covered, handing out thousands of diapers, many purchased by people off the organization's Amazon wish list just days before.

"We just hope to pay it forward and give that support back into our community because this is just an unfathomable event,” she said.

Organizers say 20 different groups joined the effort before closing at 2 p.m.

That's when the crowd shifted, instead centering around a space with so much hurt and heartbreak: the closed Tops location.

If the intention was to divide, Good Neighbors are instead united along the perimeter.

Some, like Lawrence West, traveled across state lines to be here.

"We just came up here to support show unity, standing in solidarity,” the Richmond resident and member of Black Lives Matter said.

But the energy only lasts so long.

Someone takes a microphone to announce, “let's have a minute and a half of silence, starting right now,” and heads bow, eyes close. Some kneel close to the names of the dead written on white doves at the corner of the Tops parking lot.

The moment of silences lasts 123 seconds, the same length of time it reportedly took a gunman to kill 10 people and injure three others.

As people lift their gaze again, the names are read aloud: Roberta Drury, Margus Morrison, Andre Mackniel, Aaron Salter, Geraldine Talley, Celestine Chaney, Heywood Patterson, Katherine Massey, Pearly Young, Ruth Whitfield, plus the injured Zaire Goodman, Jennifer Warrington, and Christopher Braden.

The suspect’s name is never spoken.

It will take longer than 123 seconds to heal.

But the unity makes Hill optimistic.

The moment of silence may start movement in the right direction.

"I hope that the same momentum continues. I hope that we continue to do this could work, and I hope we continue to align with one another,” she said.


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