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City Resident Near Shooting: ‘I Just Booked It Out Of The Area’

Maddie Martin heard the faint sounds as she walked with a group on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo.

Someone she was with described the sounds as something similar to fireworks.

“But I was a bit confused as it was mid-afternoon,” said Martin, a Jamestown resident who on Saturday was in Buffalo for a Pro-Choice rally.

Moments later, Martin’s mom called checking in on her after news quickly spread that someone had opened fire at a Tops Markets — a mass shooting that left at least 10 people dead and three others injured. Her mom knew she was in the city.

“I was with a group of individuals as we were trying to just pass time until I had to leave for my bus departure,” Martin told The Post-Journal. “We were just trying to find places to eat, maybe even a restroom nearby; we were actually headed back toward Niagara Square, walking down Jefferson Avenue.”

She added, “All I remember is hearing the faint sounds of what an individual with me described as fireworks.”

Within minutes emergency vehicles swarmed the area.

Martin learned shots had been fired at a nearby grocery store.

“It was at that moment when my group and I just booked it out of the area to avoid being in any kind of way of the event, for our safety,” she said.

According to the Associated Press, the man responsible for the deadly attack wore military gear. The shooting is being described by authorities as “racially motived violent extremism.”

Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist released a statement Saturday: “My heart goes out to the victims and families of the shooting in Buffalo. @MayorByronBrown whatever you need, you have our support from Jamestown. When will we, as a nation, step up to end senseless gun violence? It’s clear there is no room for hatred and violence in this world.”

The Dunkirk Police Department issued the following: “The Dunkirk Police Department would like to offer our condolences to the families and friends of the victims affected by the tragedy in Buffalo today. Our thoughts and prayers are with them, the Buffalo Police Department, The Buffalo Fire Department, all other first responders involved, and the Buffalo community as a whole.”

And the Jamestown Police Department stated, “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone effected by the tragic incident in Buffalo earlier today. Although we know that words may offer little consolation, if there’s any way the Jamestown Police Department can be of assistance — please do not hesitate to reach out. Keep the victims, their families, the civilians, and the first responders in your thoughts and prayers.”

Police officials said the gunman pulled up in the afternoon and opened fire amid shoppers, the shooting streamed via a camera affixed to the man’s helmet.

“He exited his vehicle. He was very heavily armed. He had tactical gear. He had a tactical helmet on. He had a camera that he was livestreaming what he was doing,” city Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said at a news conference afterward, via the Associated Press.

Gramaglia said the gunman initially shot four people outside the store, three fatally. Inside the store, a security guard who was a retired Buffalo police officer fired multiple shots at the gunman and struck him, but the bullet hit the gunman’s bulletproof vest and had no effect, Gramaglia added. The commissioner said the gunman then killed the security guard.

“It shakes me to my core that these issues still occur in society,” Martin said. “I really know that I was lucky to not be at the site but I just honestly have nothing but compassion and sorrow for anyone who lost someone to this tragedy.”

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