/Son of Buffalo shooting victim speaks out, calls incident a tragedy

Son of Buffalo shooting victim speaks out, calls incident a tragedy

  • Wayne Jones told Insider his mother was one of the Buffalo supermarket mass shooting victims.
  • Jones said he and his mother, 65-year-old Celestine “Stiney” Chaney, usually went to the store together.
  • He said he learned about her death from a screenshot of the gunman’s live stream. 

Wayne Jones made a point to join his 65-year-old mother on trips to the supermarket in Buffalo, New York. The one time he couldn’t make it, the unthinkable happened. 

Jones’s mother, Celestine “Stiney” Chaney, was among 10 victims who were killed during a mass shooting at Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo on Saturday. Jones had stayed home in recovery from knee surgery while his mother and aunt went to the grocery store to buy Chaney’s favorite strawberry shortcakes when the incident happened. 

“We went grocery shopping, that was what we did. As she got older, I’d take her grocery shopping,” he told Insider. “It’s ironic that the one time we didn’t go together, there’s a tragedy.”

Jones said Chaney and his aunt were initially together when the shooting began, but “got split up” in the commotion. 

“My aunt got in the freezer. She looked behind her and didn’t see (my mother),” Jones said. 

“Just a short little store run, and you lose your life because you wanted to just go to the store,” he added.

Jones discovered his mother’s death from the gunman’s livestream

Authorities identified the accused white gunman as 18-year-old Peyton Gendron of Conklin, New York. According to officials, Gendron traveled hours to reach the predominantly Black community before opening fire on people inside the supermarket.

Thirteen people were shot in total, and 10 people died, including Chaney. A majority of the victims were Black.  Officials called the shooting “racially motivated” and noted the gunman live-streamed the incident on


Twitch

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Gendron, donned in tactical gear, filmed the shooting using a camera connected to his helmet, authorities said. Like other families, Jones told Insider that he learned about his mother’s death after his daughter sent him a screenshot from the video to confirm her identity. 

“She inboxed me the picture, and it was mom, lying there, with the barrel of the gun over her,” Jones told Insider. “It was because he live-streamed the whole video … I don’t want to see that. I’ve already seen the pictures. There’s enough pain right now. Just watching that, seeing the damage over and over again, I don’t think that’s good.”

In a statement, Twitch said Gendron was “indefinitely suspended” from the platform and said the company is “taking all appropriate action, including monitoring for any accounts rebroadcasting this content.” 

A small vigil set up across the street from a Tops grocery store

A small vigil set up across the street from a Tops grocery store on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo, where a heavily armed 18-year-old White man entered the store in a predominantly Black neighborhood and shot 13 people, killing ten, Saturday, May 14, 2022.


Matt Burkhartt for The Washington Post via Getty Images



‘You can’t dream this’

Grendon was arrested at the scene and charged with first-degree murder, to which he pleaded not guilty. Law enforcement said they are investigating a manifesto that appears to have belonged to Gendron and contained plans to kill Black people. It also referenced replacement theory, a white supremacist conspiracy theory that believes people of color will outnumber white people. 

The manifesto also reportedly stated that the supermarket was targeted due to the high percentage of Black shoppers and residents in the community, Insider’s Kelsey Vlamis reported. According to reports, Gendron’s semi-automatic weapon had the N-word painted on it and the number 14, a white supremacist slogan.

Officials say that they are investigating the incident as both a hate crime and “racially motivated violent extremism.”

“It’s crazy because you would never think this would happen to you. Like, I’ve never dreamed of nothing like this,” Jones said. “I’ve thought about different situations … but never would I think a white supremacist would find the only Black Tops in your state at the time that my mom was there. You can’t dream this.”

Jones said he is trying to stay resilient for his children as they try to get through this difficult time.

“My mother, she’s got six grand kids. I’ve got to make sure I’m strong enough to handle that part. I have to be strong for them. I have to be. I have to make sure they maintain their sanity through all of this,” he said. 

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