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Tops survivors say they're being left behind as compensation decisions near

Several survivors of the racially motivated mass shooting at the Jefferson Avenue Tops say they aren't being considered for compensation.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Kishia Douglas recounted the events of May 14 vividly Wednesday afternoon.

"On the day of the shooting, I was at register one, I went in there to get a juice," Douglas said. "Had my cashier and I not been joking around, or had the gunman waited two more minutes, I would have been walking out that front door."

Douglas and the cashier survived the racially motivated domestic terror attack

Brooklyn Hough is an employee at the Tops. She had just taken her lunch break when she heard the first few shots. 

"I heard screaming, I heard the sound of a gun," Hough said. "When I heard that I knew that it was it wasn't banging, I knew something was wrong, and I ran for my life." 

Hough hid in a nearby bathroom that had a lock on the door. 

"I got on the floor, and I prayed to God that I'll make it out of this."

By any reasonable definition, they are survivors of the terror attack. But Douglas and Hough say they aren't being considered for compensation and that they have been left in the dark as to what they need to do to be considered for it.

"The shooting, it took 10 lives, yes it did, and my heart goes out to them," Douglas said. "It wounded three, and my heart goes out to them. But I was inside, and I'm not the same person, I lost something."

Douglas says she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and unable to work. Hough has not returned to the Jefferson Avenue Tops and says she has stopped getting paid. 

"To be told that I'm not the first priority, like the victims that are not here with us anymore and the three that were wounded, it hurts," Hough said. "I'm struggling every day. I have two children that have to take care of. I have not been able to work, I cannot return back to Tops. I have tried, but I can't."

They are asking that the compensation fund trustees remove what they call a barrier to accessing the funds: an application process. They say some people still haven't received their personal items from the day of the attack, which contains personal identification that is required to apply. 

Community activist Myles Carter was also on hand and said the application isn't necessary because the district attorney already knows who was inside the store when the attack occurred. 

A public meeting regarding the compensation fund is being held Thursday evening. 

   

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