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Several residents reflecting on Jefferson Avenue before horrific massacre

“At the end of the day we’re going to be here and it’s going to be us that we’re going to rebuild this community."
Posted at 6:48 PM, May 18, 2022

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Mourning continues among residents living in the 14208 zip code as ten lives were lost in Saturday’s horrific massacre.

Several people in this community explain what life was like before this tragedy.

“We’re all are family anybody can go outside any given day. You’ll come out and you’ll see people having conversations,” says Jay Dove as he cries. “Playing on the chessboard playing basketball. They’re giving out free groceries. Like free books, this is not a violent community.”

According to census figures, 80 percent of the population living in 14208 are Black.

The median household income is $25,000, and Tops on Jefferson Avenue was the go-to-market for many in this neighborhood.

“This was like a food desert we didn’t have a grocery store we just had corner stores we didn’t have fresh fruits or fresh vegetables,” says Pastor Kenneth Simmons of Cold Spring Bible Chapel. “When we were growing up we would have to travel all the way to Bells on Summer and Elmwood.”

Other residents living in this zipcode say their neighborhood has been completely torn apart.

“It’s like he’s trying to kill as many Black people as he could. This community is 99% Black. The only Caucasians in this community is people that work over here,” says Dove. “No Caucasian hangs out in this community. No Caucasians interact with us. No Caucasian go to our grocery store aside from those who works there.”

But these neighbors tell me they’re going to make sure they stand strong and continue to lift up one another.

“At the end of the day we’re going to be here and it’s going to be us that we’re going to rebuild this community,” Dove says. “I’m not going to see none of these faces when it’s all set and done.”