Youngest victim of Buffalo, N.Y., mass shooting laid to rest | CBC News

Roberta Drury, a 32-year-old woman who was the youngest of the 10 Black people killed at a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket, was remembered at her funeral on Saturday for her kindness and welcoming nature as the city marked one week since the mass shooting.

“Robbie,” as she was called, grew up in the Syracuse, N.Y., area and moved to Buffalo a decade ago to help tend to her brother in his fight against leukemia. She was shot to death May 14 on a trip to buy groceries at the Tops Friendly Market targeted by a white gunman.

“There are no words to fully express the depth and breadth of this tragedy,” Friar Nicholas Spano, parochial vicar of Assumption Church, said during the funeral service in Syracuse, not far from where Drury grew up in Cicero, N.Y.

“Last Saturday, May 14, our corner of the world was changed forever,” he said. “Lives ended. Dreams shattered and our state was plunged into mourning.”

Drury’s family wrote in her obituary that she “couldn’t walk a few steps without meeting a new friend.”

123 seconds of silence

“Robbie always made a big deal about someone when she saw them, always making sure they felt noticed and loved,” her sister, Amanda, told The Associated Press by text before the service.

After the funeral, at the Tops store in Buffalo, the mood was a mixture of tension and sombre reflection as the city marked one week since the racist massacre.

Michael Jordan and Heather Delorm, friends of Drury’s, visit a memorial for the victims of the supermarket shooting outside Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo on Saturday. Tops was encouraging people to join its stores in a moment of silence to honor the victims at 2:30 p.m., the approximate time of the attack a week earlier. (Joshua Bessex/The Associated Press)

At exactly 2:30 p.m., the moment the gunman opened fire, people who gathered and placed flowers near the corner where the victims have been memorialized observed a moment of silence. A dozen workers stood in a line outside of the Tops store entrance. Nearby, some mourners wept.

At the same time, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and other elected officials, along with Tops president John Persons, bowed their heads on the steps of city hall for 123 seconds to mark the span of the attack. Houses of worship throughout the city were encouraged to ring their bells 13 times in honour of the 10 killed and three wounded.

Joshua Kellick, a mental health and substance abuse counsellor in Buffalo, said victim Geraldine Talley, 62, was a friend. She worked as a secretary in his office, but she was the glue that held their work family together, he said outside the store.

“She was nothing but loving and giving. She would go out of her way to help everybody. She was a mother, a grandmother to everybody, without actually being just that,” said Kellick, who gathered with several of Talley’s former co-workers to observe the moment of silence.

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As Drury was laid to rest, Spano said mourners would remember her “kindness, … love for family and friends, her perseverance, her tenacity and most of all that smile that could light up a room.”

She was the second shooting victim to be eulogized.

A private service was held on Friday for Heyward Patterson, the beloved deacon at a church near the supermarket. More funerals were scheduled throughout the coming week.

A candlelight vigil was planned for later in the evening.

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