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Buffalo dedicates memorial to victims on second anniversary of racist mass shooting

Anchoring the space outside the Tops supermarket targeted in the attack is a sculpture entitled “Unity,” which features purple metal pillars representing each person killed.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The city of Buffalo on Tuesday marked the second anniversary of a racist mass shooting that killed 10 Black people with the dedication of a memorial space honoring the victims.

Anchoring the space outside the Tops supermarket targeted in the attack is a sculpture entitled “Unity,” which features purple metal pillars representing each person killed. Three gold pillars represent those who were wounded.

The sculpture by Buffalo artist Valeria Cray and her son, Hiram Cray, is part of the newly constructed 5/14 Tops Honor Space, a small park-like area with benches, pillars and gardens.

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“It’s still so traumatic,” said Buffalo resident Lisa Kragbe as she sat on a bench in the Honor Space before a ceremony attended by city, state and federal officials. She said people still have trouble going into the store, which was renovated after the attack.

Payton Gendron, who is white, is serving a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole after he pleaded guilty to state charges of murder and hate-motivated domestic terrorism. Gendron, who was 18 when he livestreamed the massacre after driving three hours from his home in Conklin, New York, could face the death penalty if convicted of pending federal hate crimes. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.

The Honor space also includes a pear tree gifted to Buffalo through the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s Survivor Tree Seedling Program. Seedlings from a tree pulled from the World Trade Center rubble after 9/11, are sent to communities that embody the tree’s spirit.

A larger memorial for the victims is planned off-site.

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