As Buffalo, New York authorities continue to investigate a tragic mass shooting, people here in Connecticut grapple to understand what motivated a teenaged gunman to target a Black community.
Ten people were killed and three others were wounded when police say 18-year-old Payton Gendron opened fire in a Buffalo supermarket.
Authorities said Gendron traveled 200 miles from his home to a predominantly Black neighborhood and targeted people in that supermarket. The tragedy is something Bloomfield Mayor Danielle Wong said has become too common.
“Buffalo, I believe, it’s just one of the ways that Black communities are under threat when it comes to their public safety,” Wong said.
Get Connecticut local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Connecticut newsletters.
Bloomfield is one of several Connecticut communities which in the past two years has declared racism as a public health emergency. In its most recent budget, the town has allocated funds to do a disparity study that will help them enact effective changes.
“Through policy is really how we engage and how we change results,” Wong said.
Bloomfield said it's still collecting data to determine what policies they will put in place.
Inside Hartford’s Key Foods Supermarket Monday, one shopper was just learning of the Buffalo tragedy.
“I feel like crying right now. It’s a lot,” said Susan Bowery.
That sense of shock, sadness and anger was common among those we spoke with.
“It hurts to know that being part of a minority could potentially end your life,” said Key Foods Supermarket General Manger Luis Perez.
Elsewhere in Hartford, another supermarket owner was taking note of the tragic Buffalo shooting. Bravo Supermarket owner Leandro Santos said an incident like what happened in Buffalo Saturday is hard to comprehend.
“It doesn’t matter where you are,” Santos said. “You can be in danger from someone who is planning to kill people for no reason.”
Meanwhile, around the nation and here in Connecticut, there is grieving.
“We Have to love each other and come together as a community,” said Bravo Supermarket shopper Ann Marie Martin. “White or Black, we need to unite. That’s what God wants.”
Sign up for our Breaking newsletter to get the most urgent news stories in your inbox.