Rochester’s faith community on Buffalo mass shooting: ‘Be more mindful that this hatred, this venom is close around us’

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester Police say they are aware of posts from the alleged shooter considering spots in the Rochester area. News10NBC talked to the Pastor of Mount Olivet Baptist Church here in the city about how he’s addressing the bloodshed.

Pastor Dr. Rickey Harvey told us this could’ve very well happened right here in the city, but faith spared us for one reason.

"To see how people were gunned down like animals, it’s painful," Harvey said.

Although Harvey never lived in Buffalo, he holds close ties to the city located just an hour away.

"It’s like home to me, and it hurts like it’s home to know that this has happened so close to us," Harvey said.

Writings purportedly of the alleged shooter Peyton Gendron detail a trip to the Rochester area to seek potential targets to carry out his plan of shooting as many Blacks as possible. Rochester Police say in a statement, "We are aware of social media posts circulating online from the alleged shooter that purportedly indicate locations within the Rochester community."

Harvey said one thing is for sure, God doesn’t love us any more than he loved those who were killed, or injured.

"To be more cautious. To be more prayerful. To be more mindful that this hatred, this venom is close around us," Harvey said. "It’s closer than ever before."

Harvey shared some of the things he will tell his congregation this Sunday as they continue to process this mass shooting.

"My heart is bleeding. I’m thankful to God for allowing our church to be safe. I’m thankful for God allowing our community to be safe," Harvey said.

We asked Harvey what would he say to Gendron if the two could sit down and talk. First Harvey said he would ask him one question: Why?

"Do you have any idea what this means for your life? For the rest of your life? Did you think about what this would do for you for the rest of your life?" Harvey said.

News10NBC asked the Rochester Police Department if it is investigating Gendron’s alleged interest in Rochester. Lt. Greg Bello sais this investigation is being handled by both the FBI and Buffalo Police. Part of Bello’s statement also included, "We continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to address any potential threats."