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One Year Later: Nine-year-old recounts surviving Buffalo mass shooting

By Olivia Proia

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    BUFFALO, New York (WKBW) — It’s been one year since 7 News first introduced you to nine-year-old Londin Thomas. On May 14, she went to the Tops Friendly Markets on Jefferson Avenue with her parents to shop for a Sunday barbecue.

“Like a regular day,” said Londin’s mother Julie Harwell. “It was nice and sunny. We thought we would go grab the stuff for tomorrow so we wouldn’t have to do it the next day.”

Londin and her dad slipped away to get her mom a surprise birthday cake. But then, chaos ensued.

“Me and my dad ran. We went where the cooler is,” Thomas recalled. “It was a big cooler where the milk was. We ran in there, and they closed the door and then we hid. Then he shot through the milk cartons.”

Londin and her dad exited through the backdoor of the supermarket, near the loading dock, while her mom came out on the other side of the store. Julie immediately went running straight back towards the building to look for her daughter.

“It was an impulse because my daughter was not with me and there was just a mass shooting in there,” said Harwell. “Every shot that I heard when I was outside that store, I felt like it was them.”

After 20 of the longest minutes of their lives, Londin and Julie were reunited.

“I was happy to see my mom, and that she was here by my side,” said Thomas.

The whole experience brought mother and daughter even closer.

LONDIN: She cooks for me, and she lets me watch TV with her.

OLIVIA PROIA: How much do you love her?

LONDIN: A lot.

But at the same time, they say little changed for the survivors, and there’s been little to no resources made available for them.

“We’re still struggling,” said Harwell. “We had problems before this. It’s not just one problem. There’s racism everywhere. There’s financial problems everywhere. You have to understand that we have issues before this. This is just something else.”

And despite the hatred that impacted her life, Londin understands.

“You should never judge people because of the way they act or because their color. That’s being rude.”

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