The first of ten funerals began Friday as Deacon Heyward Patterson was laid to rest in Buffalo, New York, after an allegedly racist gunman opened fire at the Tops supermarket last weekend.
"He was truly called to do the work in the community and he will be missed greatly,” said decade-long friend Leonard Lane, according to WIVB. The two men had been sitting in the same pew together at church for the last ten years.
“Deacon Heyward Patterson was a beautiful wonderful brother to have on your team,” Lane said. “Deacon Patterson was a little bit of everything in this community, he was a greeter, he was an usher, he was a deacon, and most of all he was a community servant.”
At a vigil, the family and friends of the survivors of the massacre spoke to the press about the sense of fear and trauma they have.
Patterson's ex-wife spoke through tears as their 12-year-old son covered his face.
"He half sleeps. He half eats. And as a mother, what am I supposed to do to help him get through this?" Tirzah Paterson begged. "I need a village to help me raise and be here for my son because he has no father."
Veronica White, the aunt of Andre Mackniel sobbed, "they just shoot us down like dogs. That doesn't make any sense to me. It shouldn't have happened."
Robin Whitfield lost her mother, who was at the grocery store that day.
"She was my best friend," she said of her mother. "What am I supposed to do? What am I supposed to do now?"
She recalled tickets to The Temptations that she was taking her mother to see that night and she keeps looking at them on her table.
"How dare you," she shouted through sobs.
See the heartbreaking moment below:
Family of shooting victims in Buffalo youtu.be