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Tops Markets Location Is the Site of Another Shooting

Gunman arrested in the parking lot of Waterloo, N.Y., store
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Tops Honor Space
Tops Markets recently dedicated the 5/14 Tops Honor Space to honor the victims of the racially motivated attack that occurred two years ago at its Jefferson Avenue location in Buffalo, N.Y. (Image courtesy of Tops Market)

A Tops Friendly Markets location has become the scene of another shooting. 

Police in upstate New York responded to a shooting at the Tops Waterloo parking lot on the afternoon of June 2. 

According to local media, Tops shoppers reported hearing a gunshot in the parking lot; then they were instructed to stay inside as the store went into lockdown.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found a man shot in the face in the parking lot; he was airlifted to Upstate Hospital for treatment. The police arrested Jose A. Garcia-Vellen, 35, of nearby Waterloo, for allegedly shooting the victim after an argument. Garcia-Vellen was arrested on the scene without incident and charged with first-degree assault, a felony, in connection with the incident. 

Police said that they believe the two men knew one another. The investigation is ongoing. 

Garcia-Vellen is being held at the Seneca County Correctional Facility, pending his arraignment.

Tops released the following statement on June 2:

"Earlier today, an incident involving an individual with a firearm took place outside the Tops located in Waterloo, N.Y.  One individual was taken to the hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound. The suspect is in custody.  

We are working collaboratively with law enforcement as they conduct their investigation. The store has reopened after being temporarily closed.

For further information about the incident, please contact local authorities.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t the only incidence of violence that has occurred at a Tops location. Less than a two-hour drive from Waterloo, a gunman entered a Tops Buffalo store on May 14, 2022, and shot 13 people, 10 of them fatally. The racially motivated killings shook the nation and the industry. 

In the aftermath of the shooting, Tops and the community surrounding the Jefferson Avenue store in Buffalo have worked toward healing. The store was closed immediately following the murders, undergoing a full renovation that included improved security features, before it reopened in July 2022. Additionally, the Williamsville, N.Y.-based grocer teamed with the nonprofit National Compassion Fund to establish the Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund to provide direct financial assistance to the survivors of those who lost their lives and people directly affected by the tragedy. 

Last month, Tops formally dedicated a 5/14 Tops Honor Space that the company established to honor the victims. Built and designed in collaboration with local partners and community members, it serves as a permanent place of honor, solace and reflection as the community continues its ongoing healing process.

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