Skip to main content

Bills, Sabres, Bandits Players Support Buffalo Community After Shooting

Editor’s Note: This story contains details of a mass tragedy and gun violence. If you or someone you know is a survivor of a mass tragedy or is coping and needs to speak with someone, please call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline.

Buffalo Bills players visited the site near Tops Market in Buffalo to distribute food to members of the community.

As the Buffalo community mourned the deaths of 10 people following a mass shooting, players and coaches of the Bills, Sabres and Bandits came together Wednesday to support the city that’s been there for them.  

“It’s hard to find the words to say, and I don’t know if there’s anything that you can say to help somebody that’s uneasy about something like that feel better,” quarterback Josh Allen said to WKBW, “other than saying I’m here for you. 

“I hear you, I’m listening to you, and I can help. If there’s anyway I can help, let me know because I’m willing to do it.”

A shooter opened fire Saturday at the Tops Supermarket on Jefferson Avenue, injuring three people and killing 10. Eleven of the 13 victims were Black, while the other two were white, according to the Buffalo Police Department. 

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn told the media the shooter has been arraigned on a charge of first-degree murder as of Saturday evening. He is scheduled for another court hearing next week, according to the Associated Press.

Scroll to Continue

SI Recommends

The three professional sports teams went to the memorial Wednesday, bringing flowers, serving food and talking with the community. They sported “Choose love” T-shirts. 

“I just wanted to talk to people and ask them how they’re doing,” Sabres forward Kyle Okposo said to WKBW. “When you look into somebody’s eyes and you see what it does to their spirit, how much it lifts them to feel that little bit of normalcy in this time of chaos, was worth every second of coming here.”

The players’ and team’s impact reached beyond Wednesday’s actions. 

The Bills Foundation and NFL Foundation are teaming up to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to local response efforts. A combined $200,000 will go to the Buffalo Together Community Response Fund, while the Bills Foundation will donate an additional $200,000 to several nonprofits that are addressing the immediate needs of Buffalo’s East Side residents. 

Bandits’ Dhane Smith pledged to donate $50 for each goal the team scores this weekend as it faces the Toronto Rock. Other players are contributing elsewhere, such as Bills safety Micah Hyde pledging to donate part of the proceeds from his charity softball game directly to the families and Shaq Lawson donating to the Thurman Thomas Family Foundation.  

The FBI is investigating the mass shooting, with director Christopher Wray saying in a statement on Monday, “I want to be clear, for my part, from everything we know, this was a targeted attack, a hate crime, and an act of racially motivated violent extremism.

“While there remain a lot of unknowns, as there always do in an investigation at this stage, what is absolutely certain is that we at the FBI are committed to comprehensively and aggressively investigating Saturday’s attack.”

The Bills curated a page that lists resources and ways you can help the victims, their families and the Buffalo community, which can be found here.