BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Jefferson Avenue is back open and the Tops store there is back in company control.
Mayor Bryon Brown, Tops President John Persons, Police Commissioner Joe Gramaglia, FBI Special Agent In-Charge Steve Belongia, Sheriff John Garcia, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York Trini Ross and others gave updates on the investigation.
Law enforcement officials left the scene late Thursday afternoon, five days after 10 people were killed and three others injured in what officials are calling a racially motivated mass murder.
Evidence collection has concluded, according to the FBI. They brought in special field crews to assist on the investigation and used special technologies to ensure they have everything they need to complete this investigation.
“The evidence collection phase of this portion of the investigation inside the Tops Supermarket has been concluded,” Mayor Byron Brown said.
The next step in the investigation surrounds the trial of the 18-year-old suspect. At Tops, they are now moving forward with renovation plans for the East Side location.
“We want to bring a best in class store to this location. We want to make sure that it is done right,” Tops President and COO John Persons added.
Reopening details are limited. This area is a food desert and its the only store of its kind in the neighborhood. Tops says there are no official plans to open another location anytime soon despite residents traveling far distances to find food.
“We haven’t looked at an additional site. Our commitment right now is to our associates, which is what we’ve put a lot of our focus to and to the immediate community in Jefferson Ave.,” Persons continued.
Gun violence is an ongoing problem in Buffalo, one that extends beyond Jefferson Ave. and Masten Park.
“We have to take our neighborhoods back. We have to take our stores back,” Commissioner Gramaglia said.
The Mayor told News 4 he wants to add more funds and resources for police, despite calls to defund them. He fully supports the controversial shot spotter technology and believes the department needs the means to fight crime in the city.
” The budget I just proposed for 2022-2023 provides more resources to the Buffalo Police Department to protect this community,” Mayor Brown added.
As the crime tape comes down, only the Tops Plaza will remain fenced off. Police say they are not leaving the area, though.
“We are not leaving here. We are not going to leave the neighborhood. We are still going to have police officers here assisting Tops and just being around the neighborhood,” Commissioner Gramaglia concluded.