Beloved Buffalo native Rob Gronkowski and many other celebrities with deep connections to the city paid heartfelt tribute to the victims who lost their lives in Saturday’s hate-fueled massacre in a supermarket.
Gronkowski led tributes following the horrific, racially-motivated attack as he penned words about Buffalo — a city in which he grew up.
“Sending much love and many prayers to the city of Buffalo. Especially to the families and friends of all the victims of the tragic shooting yesterday,” Gronk tweeted on Sunday.
“Buffalo will always have a special place in my heart and what happened yesterday was devastating. Stay strong.”
Before leaving Buffalo, the NFL star attended Williamsville North High School. The school is located just 20 minutes away from the supermarket where Saturday’s gun rampage took place.
Payton Gendron, 18, was taken into custody minutes after he allegedly live-streamed himself opening fire at the Tops Friendly Market and fatally gunning down 10 people.
Buffalo Bills paid tribute to the victims of the shooting by taking on a new team slogan, which reads, “Stop hate. End Racism. Choose love.”
“Praying for and with our Buffalo community. Our hearts are with the victims, their families, and friends,” the team tweeted.
The team’s beloved quarterback Josh Allen rushed to Twitter to pay his respects, saying it’s “extremely hard to express the emotions right now.”
“Absolutely heartbroken for the victims and their families, and for the City of Buffalo,” Allen added.
On Monday, Allen said he was still heartbroken over the act of terror.
“It’s still hard to wrap my head around it,” Allen shared. “I tweeted it, just the heartbreak, the sense of this weird feeling that I have.”
“It’s something that you never think it’s going to happen in your community and when it does, it hits home. I was sick to my stomach all day yesterday,” he added.
Bills legend Thurman Thomas penned words from the heart on Twitter, writing, “The news today is heartbreaking and infuriating at the same time.
“My love goes out to the Buffalo community and to those of you who lost someone. We are here for you and we love you.”
Thomas and several former teammates are coming together in Buffalo this week to help support families of the shooting victims.
Among those players expected to make the trip is 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.
“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,” Thomas said. “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 four Hall of Famers were key members of the Buffalo teams that won four straight AFC championships.
Thomas and his wife, Patti Thomas, said their family foundation has raised more than $100,000 to help the city and its residents in the aftermath of the shooting.
Speaking on Monday, Bills safety Micah Hyde said Buffalo “has become home to me.”
“I heard the news yesterday. I’m shocked. I still can’t believe it. There’s hate in the world. You try to erase it with love,” he said. “Love to the youth, there’s love to the community, love for the foundation. I guess that’s the way to combat it.”
Over on Twitter, Hyde said he will be “donating a portion” of his charity game proceeds to the families affected by the shooting.
NFL Hall of Fame star Terrell Owens responded to Hyde’s fundraising efforts, tweeting, “All the best with softball game and it’s new meaning.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this senseless incident. @BuffaloBills, let me know if there is anything I can do to help. This hurts.”
Owens’s impressive career on the field saw him play for the Bills for one season in 2009. The city’s mayor at the time, Byron Brown, presented Owens with a key to the city just 24 hours after touching down in Buffalo.
The Buffalo Sabres tweeted, “We are heartbroken for our community today. Our hearts are with the victims, their families, friends, and all of Buffalo.”
Buffalo Sabres goalie, Ryan Miller, also paid tribute to the shooting victims on Twitter.
“My heart goes out to the victims in Buffalo, NY. Such a horrible tragedy. I hope that the community can heal,” he tweeted.
Buffalo-based rock band Goo Goo Dolls also paid tribute on Twitter.
“Our hearts are breaking for our hometown of Buffalo, NY as the victims, families, and community do their best to find their way through yesterday’s senseless tragedy,” the beloved band tweeted.
With Post wires