In Buffalo, there is confusion and deep sadness.
The personal tragedy here is felt across America.
The arrival of President Biden marks a moment of national mourning.
He stopped near makeshift memorials at the scene of the shooting and put his hand over his heart. He knows that what happened here echoes other attacks in American cities.
That’s what scares people Buffalo. It tests their faith in people and in politicians.
This is the side of America that Joe Biden wants to fix.
We went to the church where one of the victims worshiped and worked. Heyward Patterson, was a deacon and also helped run the soup kitchen.
He had just finished a shift the day he was killed. He had left the church earlier than usual so he could have his hair cut.
We caught up with her friend and fellow volunteer Penny Beckham preparing the next soup kitchen meal.
“People loved him,” she says. “He would cheer them on, let them know they matter, no matter what they’re going through.”
Penny says her death is “senseless”. She’s glad the president came to visit her nearby community, but she also wants him to do something about guns. “I know they say those who want to have a right, but why do you need assault rifles…why do you need those kinds of guns? You know, I really believe they should be banned.”
That’s why the local tragedy in Buffalo reflects a national challenge for the president.
After meeting with the families of the victims, Joe Biden spoke of the “poison” of white supremacywhich “has no place in America,” he told the cheering crowd.
The problem is that the president knows his rhetoric and sympathy won’t go any further. People hear his words, but now want decisions, plans and policies.
Buffalo wants it too. A moment of awareness against racism and violence.
Back at her church, Penny prays for this to happen. Heyward Patterson’s funeral will take place this week.
Penny refuses to lose hope or faith: “I won’t let any evil person stop us from doing what God wants us to do. And people like to come, and we like to provide meals for them.