ALBANY, NY (WSKG) – Members of the New York State Senate, both Democrats and Republicans, put partisan differences aside to condemn the mass shooting at a Buffalo grocery store over the weekend that killed 10 and injured three.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the first African American and African American woman to lead the Senate, called out the “white supremacy and racism” that motivated the shooting.
Stewart-Cousins blamed some politicians in America who she said want to score wins by promoting hate and fear. She said that talk can only lead to more violence.
“We will find that each and every one of us will have incidents like this,” Stewart-Cousins said. “And suddenly, this American dream inspired by an enlightened constitution, that brought all of us as far as we’ve come, will mean nothing.”
Senate Republican Minority Leader Robert Ortt represents regions surrounding Buffalo, including the home of one of the victims, retired police officer Aaron Salter, who fired his gun in an attempt to stop the shooter.
Ortt and Assembly GOP Minority Leader William Barclay introduced a bill Monday to restore the state’s death penalty for mass murders and homicides motivated by hate or acts of terrorism. Ortt, in his remarks on the floor, said it’s too soon, though, to debate politics, and which policies could help stem violent hate crimes.
“I’m not going to have it here, because this is a somber event,” Ortt said. “We’re trying to remember the 10 people who did not come out of that grocery store. The 10 people whose lives ended because they went grocery shopping.”
Members then held a moment of silence for the victims.