'Hole in our hearts:' Family of Buffalo mass shooting victim mourn loss of beloved mother

'There's nothing we can do that’s going to take away the hurt,' former Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield Jr said of his late mother

A son whose mother was killed in the Buffalo supermarket mass shooting said there is nothing anyone can do to "take away the hole in our hearts", as he questioned how America could allow its history of racist killings to repeat itself.

Former Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield Jr lost his 86-year-old mother, Ruth Whitfield, in the shooting, in which 11 Black people and two white people were killed on Saturday.

Mr Whitfield’s mother died after making her daily visit to her husband in a nursing home.

"There's nothing we can do that’s going to take away the hurt, take away these tears, take away the pain, take away the hole in our hearts. Because part of us is gone," he told reporters at a news conference on Monday.

"For her to be taken from us and taken from this world by someone that's just full of hate for no reason… it is very hard for us to handle right now."

He went on to say that the shooting should never have happened, describing how he and his family treat people with "decency" and "love even our enemies".

"We’re not just hurting. We’re angry. We’re mad. This shouldn’t have happened. We do our best to be good citizens, to be good people," he said. “And you expect us to keep doing this over and over and over again - over again, forgive and forget,” he continued.

“While people we elect and trust in offices around this country do their best not to protect us, not to consider us equal.”

Authorities are investigating the massacre at the Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, New York, as a potential hate crime or act of domestic terrorism.

Payton Gendron has already appeared in court. Credit: AP

The suspected 18-year-old gunman, identified as Payton Gendron, arrived in the black neighbourhood having researched local demographics and with the "express purpose" of killing as many black people as possible, according to officials.

“He was going to get in his car and continue to drive down Jefferson Avenue and continue doing the same thing,” Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said.

The other victims in Buffalo included a man buying a cake for his grandson, a church deacon helping people get home with their groceries and a supermarket security guard.

The massacre came just a month after a shooting on a Brooklyn subway wounded 10 people and just over a year after 10 people were killed in a shooting at a Colorado supermarket.

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