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Youngest of 10 Buffalo shooting victims is laid to rest

Enrique Owens, a cousin of Roberta Drury, wears a T-shirt with her photograph on it before her funeral service on Saturday May 21 2022 (Lauren Petracca/AP)
Enrique Owens, a cousin of Roberta Drury, wears a T-shirt with her photograph on it before her funeral service on Saturday May 21 2022 (Lauren Petracca/AP)

Mourners have said goodbye to the youngest of 10 black people killed in a mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket.

Roberta Drury, 32, was remembered at her funeral on Saturday for her love for family and friends, tenacity, “and most of all, that smile that could light up a room”.

Ms Drury – or Robbie, as she was known – grew up in the Syracuse area and moved to Buffalo a decade ago to help care for her brother in his fight against leukaemia.

She was shot to death on May 14 on a trip to buy groceries at the Tops Friendly Market targeted by a white gunman.

Roberta Drury’s aunt, Julie Julian, and grandfather, John Traeger, comfort each other as the hearse carrying Roberta Drury drives away after her funeral service
Roberta Drury’s aunt, Julie Julian, and grandfather, John Traeger, comfort each other as the hearse carrying Roberta Drury drives away after her funeral service (Lauren Petracca/AP)

“There are no words to fully express the depth and breadth of this tragedy,” Friar Nicholas Spano, parochial vicar of Assumption Church in Syracuse, said during the service.

The stately brick church is not far from where Ms Drury grew up in Cicero.

“Last Saturday, May 14, our corner of the world was changed forever,” Mr Spano said.

“Lives ended, dreams shattered and our state was plunged into mourning.”

Ms Drury’s family wrote in her obituary that she “couldn’t walk a few steps without meeting a new friend”.

“Robbie always made a big deal about someone when she saw them, always making sure they felt noticed and loved,” her sister, Amanda, told The Associated Press by text message before the service.

Enrique Owens, a cousin of Roberta Drury, wears a T-shirt with a photograph of her as a little girl
Enrique Owens, a cousin of Roberta Drury, wears a T-shirt with a photograph of her as a little girl (Lauren Petracca/AP)

The family asked that donations be made to the Buffalo Zoo, a place the sisters enjoyed walking through, Amanda Drury said.

“She was that light that shone through whatever darkness might have been present,” Mr Spano said.

He said mourners would remember Ms Drury’s “kindness … love for family and friends, her perseverance, her tenacity, and most of all, that smile that could light up a room”.

Ms Drury is the second shooting victim to be eulogised.

A private service was held on Friday for Heyward Patterson, the deacon at a church near the supermarket.

More funerals are scheduled for the coming week.

Howard Patton pays his respects at the scene of last Saturday’s shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York
Howard Patton pays his respects at the scene of last Saturday’s shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York (Matt Rourke/AP)

Tops was encouraging people to join its shops in a moment of silence to honour the shooting victims at 2.30pm on Saturday, the approximate time of the attack a week earlier.

Buffalo mayor Byron Brown also called for 123 seconds of silence from 2.28pm to 2.31pm, followed by the ringing of church bells 13 times throughout the city to honour the 10 killed and three hurt.

A candlelight vigil is planned at the Buffalo supermarket in the evening.