BUFFALO, N.Y. — Bills Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas told The Associated Press that he and several former teammates are coming together in Buffalo this week to help support families of the victims from a shooting at a Buffalo supermarket.
Among those players expected to make the trip are Hall of Famers defensive end Bruce Smith and receiver Andre Reed, along with Thomas and Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, who like Thomas lives in the area.
“Those guys said right away, ‘We’ll be here this week because that’s our city. We love it and we want to be supportive,'” Thomas said. “They want to see what they can do and how they can help, because they were really a part of this community for a number of years and they want to continue to help.”
Thomas and his wife, Patti, said their family foundation has raised more than $100,000 to help the city and its residents in the aftermath of the shooting.
“I’m a little emotional right now. Really, I am,” Thomas said at a news conference with city officials Monday. “I’m hurting for the city that I love. I’m hurting for the people on the east side, their families, our friends and our community. You read about stuff happening in other states, but when it’s right here at home, it’s tough. It really is tough and this is a time that we need to come together.”
The attack took place Saturday afternoon when a white 18-year-old man opened fire at a Tops Friendly Markets located in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo. Authorities have described the act as “racially motivated violent extremism.” Ten people were killed in the shooting spree.
The four Hall of Famers were key members of the Buffalo teams that won four straight AFC championships, though they lost in the Super Bowl each year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.