Kamala Harris mourns Buffalo, NY shooting victim Ruth Whitfield

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Kamala Harris mourns Buffalo, NY shooting victim Ruth Whitfield

The US is in the midst of an “epidemic of hate” and it’s time for all Americans to say “enough is enough,” Vice President Kamala Harris said Saturday at the funeral for the oldest victim gunned down in the Buffalo supermarket massacre.

“The pain that this family is feeling right now and the nine other families here in Buffalo, I cannot even begin to express our collective pain as a nation for what you are feeling in such an extreme way,” said Harris while addressing hundreds who attended a funeral in Buffalo for Ruth Whitfield, 86. 

“To not only lose someone you love, but through an act of extreme violence and hate. And I do believe that our nation right now is experiencing an epidemic of hate.” 

During her three-minute speech at Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Harris noted other recent mass shootings that have devastated other parts of the country, saying “enough is enough.”

“There’s a through line to what happened here in Buffalo, in Texas, in Atlanta, in Orlando, what happened at the synagogues,” she said, “and so this is a moment that requires all good people, all God-loving people, to stand up and say ‘we will not stand for this.’”

VP Harris, husband stand in front of memorial with photos and flowers with Tops Friendly Market in the background.
Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff visit a memorial outside of Tops Friendly Market, where the massacre took place.
Patrick Semansky/AP

Whitfield, 86, was among the ten people fatally shot at Tops Friendly Markets on May 14. Three others were also wounded.

Suspect Payton Gendron, 18, allegedly slaughtered shoppers with a legally purchased AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle after posting a white supremacist manifesto online. All 10 of the deceased victims were black.

The vice president and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, privately met with Whitfield’s relatives before the service, and later sat next to them in the front row during the service

During her three-minute speech at Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Harris also addressed other recent mass shootings that have devastated other parts of the country, saying “enough is enough.”

“There’s a through line to what happened here in Buffalo, in Texas, in Atlanta, in Orlando, what happened at the synagogues,” she said, “and so this is a moment that requires all good people, all God-loving people, to stand up and say ‘we will not stand for this.’”

Other elected officials in attendance included Gov. Kathy Hochul, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and state Attorney General Letitia James. Harris was not scheduled to speak at the funeral service, but only did so after the civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton asked her to address the audience.

No other elected officials spoke during the funeral.

Vice President Harris and her husband stand beside a portrait of Whitfield.
Vice President Harris and her husband stand beside a portrait of Whitfield — the 86-year-old who was fatally shot on May 14 at Top Friendly Market in Buffalo.
Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS

Whitfield, the mother of retired Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield Jr., had been visiting her husband Garnell Sr. at a nearby nursing home before going to Tops Friendly Markets to shop.

After the funeral, a motorcade carrying Harris stopped outside the now-shuttered supermarket. While there, Harris and her husband laid a bouquet of white flowers at the edge of memorial honoring the massacre’s victims and prayed for several minutes.

More coverage on the Buffalo supermarket shooting

A few hundred people gathered to watch. Some shouted “thanks for coming” and “we love you.” Others, however, peppered her with such questions as “What are you going to do?”

Harris spoke alongside Reverend Al Sharpton at Whitfield's funeral on May 28.
Harris spoke alongside Reverend Al Sharpton at Whitfield’s funeral on May 28.
Patrick Semansky/AP

“We have a lot of work to do,” Harris fired back three times to those gathered at the memorial before returning to her black SUV, according to the Buffalo News.

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