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Buffalo mass shooting victim Celestine Chaney was a breast cancer survivor

Celestine Chaney
Posted at 7:04 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-20 20:51:10-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Going to the grocery store is often an errand we take for granted, especially during the weekend.

That was all a trip to the Jefferson Ave. Tops Supermarket was supposed to be for Celestine Chaney.

This attack killed the 65-year-old woman, along with nine others, who had already survived so much in her life.

Courtesy: Charon Reed

A single photo showcases the bright smile 65-year-old Celestine Chaney brought with her everywhere she went.

Her legacy shines throughout her family's living room, filled with various family members, including her only child and grandchildren, including her sister Joanna Daniels, who was in the Tops supermarket with her the day of the shooting.

"She loved our family, she loved to be around them and, you know, she just had a birthday last week. It was her birthday last week, yeah. So, yeah, she loved her family," Celestine Chaney's sister, Joann Daniels said.

Her sister recounts the horrific moments on that Saturday, as their quick trip to grocery store to grab strawberry shortcake, turned into a day of terror she and her family will never forget.

"We heard the shots. But we thought might be... you know someone with firecrackers. So we thought, we kept moving and so as we was going out, everybody was running back in and somebody knocked her down," Daniels said.

Daniels assumed Celestine got back up and was close behind her, as they ran, unaware of what was happening in the store.

Daniels said, "Everybody was telling me to go to the coolers, which is in the back of the store, and they opened the back door and they said, 'come on, go out the back door.' So we all went out the back door. There was a bunch of people, I said 'I'm looking for my sister.'"

That unfathomable reality is something Daniels continues to relive, since that dreadful day.

"My sister survived breast cancer and three aneurysm surgeries to go to the grocery store to get killed," she explained as she holds back tears.

Courtesy: Wayne Jones pictured with his mother, Celestine Chaney

Celestine's son, Wayne Jones said, "As I'm sitting at home, my daughter called me and she said 'dad, somebody inboxed me a picture of what happened.'" //Hour or so later, I get the actual video and I watch the video. He shot my mom once. My mom was laying on the ground. He went and reloaded and he shot my mom again."

A shooting rampage by a man filled with hate, just because pigment was deeper than his, has now gutted families like Celestine Chaney's, and leaving many unanswered questions.

"My feelings? Anger. Hurt. Confusion," Jones said. "We're all just people, you know? You strip off all the tags, you're a person and somebody's going to be hurt if you're gone because you don't come back. No one comes back."

Tears of agony is expressed across the family living room knowing their Celestine won't be walking through their doors to greet them with a warm smile.

However, the family finds solace knowing she has left a legacy of bright futures and smiles just like hers, while the legacy of the 18-year-old suspect's became nonexistent on that Saturday afternoon.

Daniels shared, "People coming and, you know, calling, you know, come in by the house, you know, condolences and everything. You know, it just makes you feel so good."

Celestine leaves behind relatives and grandchildren as young as four.