Area Leaders Attend Funeral Services For Mass Shooting Victims

August 20, 2010 Updated Aug 20, 2010 at 6:55 PM EDT

By Jennifer Stanonis

August 20, 2010 Updated Aug 20, 2010 at 6:55 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) -- Many area leaders attended the wake and funeral services Friday afternoon at True Bethel Baptist Church on Buffalo's eastside. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown was among the thousands paying their respects to 32 year old Tiffany Wilhite and 27-year old Shawn-Tia McNeil, who were among the four shot and killed downtown last weekend. The mayor says the violence has to stop. "I'm here because I'm hurting like the rest of the community is hurting," Mayor Brown said. "We are going to crack down very aggressively on the criminal element and make it uncomfortable for them to continue to operate in the city."

Buffalo School Board President Ralph Hernandez was also in attendance. He says one of the principals in the school district was Tiffany's mother. "One of our principal's daughters... Mrs. Wilhite, she's at School 84," Hernandez said. "A tragedy and big loss for everybody in the entire city."

Leaders on a state level were also at the funeral services. Some to grieve, others to help with the fight against violence. "Just coming to show my support, one of the young ladies, Tiffany, I did know and has helped me out a couple times over the years and wanted to come pay my respects," New York State Senator Antoine Thompson said. "I sent a letter to the governor {Thursday}... requesting that the State Division of Parole begin to do bar sweeps like they do in Niagara county."

"We really have to do a better job as a state to make sure we protect legal gun owners but we get illegal guns out of the hands of shooters," New York State Senator Eric Schneiderman said.