From the accused shooter’s hometown: prayers and bewilderment

CONKLIN – Worshipers in this Southern Tier town prayed for Buffalo on Sunday.

Neighbors of the 18-year-old accused of “pure evil” in the racist mass killing at the Tops supermarket on Jefferson Avenue described him as one of the last people from here they would have predicted to carry out such a heinous act.

Photos: Police gather outside the home of man charged in Tops mass shooting
Photos: Police gather outside the home of man charged in Tops mass shooting
Harry Scull Jr.
And the elected supervisor of this town of 5,441 residents some seven miles south of Binghamton, near the Pennsylvania border, could express only shock.

“I have no words,” said Town Supervisor William Dumian. “Tragic. Inexcusable.”

News of the Buffalo shooting that killed 10 people left Jasen A. Pascal saddened – but not surprised.

“Places are going to have good and bad, and so it’s not necessarily surprising to hear the news,” said Pascal, a 33-year-old Black man who moved here from Brooklyn several years ago.

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The neighborhood where accused shooter Payton Gendron comes from is a postcard of American small town living. Modest, well-kept houses. Nice lawns. Towering trees. Everyone knows their neighbors.

Here’s what we know and what we do not know about the mass shooting at the Tops supermarket on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo.

“Being out here, personally, I felt a lot of love,” Pascal said of being in the community and engaging with residents. “I do enjoy this area.”

Getting to the suspect’s home from off Interstate 81 means driving along Broome Corporate Parkway past distribution centers the lengths of football fields and electronics assembly facilities.

Residents said it is not a place where white supremacy is tolerated.

“This is not at all that kind of community,” said Reed Mullen, a software engineer who is a leader of the Bridgewater Church’s Conklin campus.

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