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More funerals will be held this week for victims of the mass shooting in Buffalo

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Today in Buffalo, there will be another funeral. It's the third since last week's rampage at a Buffalo supermarket that left 10 people dead and three others wounded. All of those killed were Black. Many residents of Buffalo refuse to say the name of the accused 18-year-old white man who killed them. They say their focus is and will always be on the victims. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: Today's funeral is for 72-year-old Katherine Massey. She was a newspaper writer, a champion of civil rights and education who advocated for stronger gun control laws. Yesterday, the city paid tribute to all the victims with its call for two minutes of silence in the afternoon - the same amount of time the slaughter at Tops Market lasted. And yesterday, a bittersweet moment as the 2022 graduating class at Canisius College gave Aaron Salter a standing ovation.

(APPLAUSE)

CORLEY: The store security guard, a former Buffalo police officer, died trying to stop the gunman. He had put getting his college diploma on hold.

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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Canisius College is proud to confer upon Aaron W. Salter Jr. the degree of Bachelor of Arts posthumously.

CORLEY: There will be a public viewing held for Salter tomorrow. Funerals for him and most of the other victims will be held later this week.

About a 10-minute drive from Tops Market, 18-year-old Dwayne King (ph) sat outside a fast food restaurant with friends, all African Americans. King says it's still hard for him to believe what happened in Buffalo, especially since the mass shooting suspect is the same age as him.

DWAYNE KING: To drive three hours away to come kill Black people at a local Tops - that was crazy to me.

CORLEY: Isaiah Parsons (ph) chimed in. He was mad that the gunman targeted his community.

ISAIAH PARSONS: He ruined a lot of people families. I feel like he ruined the whole area. That was a safe neighborhood for a lot of African American kids, and now everybody is scared it might happen again.

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CORLEY: At True Bethel Baptist Church, Bishop Darius Pridgen told his congregation during his Sunday sermon that he was exhausted. He said it is important to acknowledge the impact the tragedy has had on so many.

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DARIUS PRIDGEN: Because I want us to stay in a healthy place. I won't mention this man's name in this church because we're not OK.

CORLEY: Pridgen is also the president of the Buffalo city council. He says what's kept the area from erupting has been keeping the focus on the families and on the fact that it was one lone gunman who caused such devastation.

PRIDGEN: One evil white supremacist, so that we do not start treating, as African Americans, white people like some white people have treated us all of our existence.

CORLEY: It won't get any easier for Pridgen and the community. On Friday, he'll preside over the funeral of 52-year-old Margus Morrison, who had gone to Tops supermarket to get food for his family's weekly movie night.

Cheryl Corley, NPR News, Buffalo, N.Y.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Cheryl Corley is a Chicago-based NPR correspondent who works for the National Desk. She primarily covers criminal justice issues as well as breaking news in the Midwest and across the country.