Updated as of 5/25/2022 at 11:15 a.m. ET
The Buffalo Bills players have been offering any help they can to support the Buffalo community following the supermarket shooting. Last week, the players helped distribute food to needy families. Now, they’ve paid for the funeral expenses for one of the victims, per Sports Illustrated. Services for the remaining victims are expected to be held in the coming days.
Player Taiwan Jones found one of the families were struggling to pay for the service and came together with a few teammates to take care of the $15,000 bill.
Katherine Massey, 72, and Celestine Chaney, 65, were laid to rest this week. Chaney was a survivor of three aneurysms and breast cancer, inspiring service attendees to wear pink in her honor, per NBC affiliate WGRZ. Massey was remembered by friends for being a civil rights activist and education advocate.
She’d previously warned against the threat of mass shootings.
More on Massey from WGRZ:
Last year she wrote a letter to her hometown newspaper, The Buffalo News, addressing “escalating gun violence in Buffalo and many major U.S. cities” and calling for “extensive” federal action and legislation.
“Current pursued remedies mainly inspired by mass killings — namely, universal background checks and banning assault weapons — essentially exclude the sources of our city’s gun problems,” the letter read. “Illegal handguns, via out of state gun trafficking, are the primary culprits.”
Roberta Drury, 32, and Heyward Patterson, 67, were also laid to rest, per The Associated Press. Roberta or “Robbie” was remembered for having a smile that could “light up a room.” Per AP’s report, she moved to Buffalo ten years ago to help her brother fight leukemia. The father of Jacob Blake also flew in from Chicago to offer his condolences.
More from AP News:
Drury’s family wrote in her obituary that she “couldn’t walk a few steps without meeting a new friend.”
“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.
Another victim, Deacon Heyward Patterson, was also laid to rest this weekend in a private service, reported The New York Times. Hundreds of people across NY came to mourn the loss of their loved one. Per the Times, Patterson was known to give rides to the supermarket to people in the area who didn’t have a car.
“He was a bright star in the midst of turmoil,” said childhood friend Clyde Haslam, 66, to The New York Times. “We’ve been through so much. But no matter the ups and downs, he was always smiling. And so we have to smile here today.”
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown joined a few other elected officials to bow their heads at the steps of City Hall for 123 seconds, the time span in which the attack occurred, per AP News. Churches and places of worship were encouraged to ring their bells 13 times to honor the victims.