The Rev. Al Sharpton will speak Friday at the funeral of Deacon Hayward Patterson, the first victim of the Buffalo mass shooting to be laid to rest, at the request of his widow and pastor.
Patterson was one of 10 people killed when a body armor-clad gunman opened fire at a Tops grocery store on the east side of Buffalo. Authorities are investigating the shooting as a hate crime and an instance of racially motivated violent extremism, adding the gunman researched parts of New York State with the highest concentration of Black people. Eleven of the 13 people he shot were Black.
On Thursday evening, Sharpton will also address a community rally in wake of the shooting. Governor Hochul on Sunday announced that the National Action Network (NAN) will help cover the funeral costs for the 10 victims.
The Buffalo chapter of the NAN has mobilized community assistance efforts since the shooting. One priority has been food access, as the Tops was one of the few grocery stores in the neighborhood. Rev. Sharpton has called on President Biden to immediately convene leaders in the Black, Latinx, AAPI, and Jewish communities to address the rise in violent hate crimes.