Célestine Chaney, victim of the Buffalo supermarket, mourned | News, Sports, Jobs


BUFFALO (AP) — Footage of Celestine Chaney’s shooting death in a hate-motivated attack at a Buffalo supermarket made its way onto the internet in the days that followed. At her funeral on Tuesday, images of a precious life filled the space, showing her smiling and holding her family close.

Chaney, 65, was among 10 black people killed on May 14 when a white gunman wearing a bulletproof vest and a helmet-mounted camera targeted shoppers and workers at a Tops Friendly Market. Three other people were injured in the attack, which federal authorities are investigating as a hate crime.

Chaney’s son, Wayne Jones Sr., told mourners inside the Elim Christian Fellowship shrine that he felt empty despite being “somewhat mentally prepared for this day” after watching his mother survive breast cancer and three brain aneurysms.

A single mother after a divorce, Chaney had taught her only child how to survive, Jones said.

“When the lights were out, we lit candles. When the heating was off, we had just walked into a room,” he said. “When there was nothing to eat, we would have a meal and share it.”

“Life will never be the same again” said Jones, who before the service placed a hand on her mother’s white casket as members of the congregation she was devoted to extended their right hands to her in support.

The alleged shooter, Payton Gendron, 18, of Conklin, has been charged with murder and is being held without bond.

Chaney’s eldest of nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, Wayne Jones Jr., said he wanted another phone call from his funny and caring grandmother who celebrated her 65th birthday with a steak , lobster and mimosas a week before his death.

“Of course she wanted the most expensive thing on the menu,” laughs her granddaughter Kayla Jones.

Mayor Byron Brown tagged Tuesday “Celestine Chaney Day” in Buffalo in a proclamation read at the service. A slideshow of family photos played on an oversized screen at the end of the service.

Wayne Jones Sr. said last week that his mother was confirmed dead when he first saw a photo and then a video of the shooting. Chaney and her 74-year-old sister had been shopping for strawberry shortcakes and other groceries on a hot Saturday afternoon.

Shopping was usually how mother and son spent time together, going to store after store and grabbing a hot dog or a McDonald’s along the way, he said.

“It’s a trip we can’t do with her. She has to take this one alone,” Jones told the mourners, breaking down.

“I wish I could go with her” he said. “Just to protect her.”

More funerals are planned throughout the week.

On Monday, family, friends and colleagues said goodbye to Katherine, 72 “katte” Massey, who was remembered as a community activist and education advocate dedicated to improving her city.



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