A retired police officer, the 86-year-old mother of a former fire commissioner, an anti-gun activist and a longtime missionary were among the 10 people shot and killed in Saturday’s racially motivated attack at a Buffalo supermarket.
A total of 13 people were shot, 11 of them Black.
Authorities arrested Payton Gendron, 18, of Conklin, New York, in connection with the shooting. A manifesto allegedly written by Gendron describes the ZIP code where the supermarket is located as having “the highest Black percentage that is close enough to where I live.”
Police have identified the victims of the shooting at a Tops Friendly Markets store and notified their families. Their names had not been released as of Sunday evening, but family members and colleagues of some of the victims began sharing their stories with the media and online. They include:
Aaron Salter Jr.
Retired police officer Salter, 55, was working as a security guard at the Tops supermarket on Saturday and exchanged gunfire with the shooter before being fatally wounded.
Salter, who worked for the Buffalo Police Department for three decades, spent the past four years doing security for Tops. On his LinkedIn page, Salter said it was his “dream” to get “cars to run off of water” through an energy source he discovered.
He previously survived a 1996 encounter with a suspected burglar who had a shotgun, telling The Buffalo News at the time, “I don’t enjoy looking down the barrel of a shotgun, and if it hadn’t been for my partner shooting first, it would have been a golden opportunity to shoot us. My partner probably saved us.”
The 86-year-old Whitfield was buying food at Tops when the gunfire began, her son Garnell Whitfield, a former Buffalo fire commissioner, told local news station WGRZ.
Before the shooting, she had spent time visiting her 88-year-old husband at a nursing home, according to the station.
“My mom was the consummate mom,” Garnell told The Buffalo News. “My mother was a mother to the motherless. She was a blessing to all of us. She loved God and taught us to do the same thing.”
The 77-year-old Young was also shopping when she was fatally shot, according to Buffalo native Madison Carter, a reporter for Atlanta news station WXIA-TV.
She described Young in a tweet as a “missionary,” in addition to being a mother and grandmother.
“For 25 years she ran a pantry where every Saturday she fed people in Central Park,” Carter wrote. “Every. Saturday. She loved singing, dancing, & being with family.”
Massey wrote about the “escalating gun violence in Buffalo” last year in a letter to The Buffalo News, calling for more federal firearm regulations.
A member of the “We Are Women Warriors” community empowerment group, the 72-year-old Massey was vocal about civil rights and education in Buffalo, said Betty Jean Grant, a former legislator in Erie County.
“We lost a voice yesterday,” Grant told The Buffalo News. “We lost a powerful, powerful voice.”
Drury, 32, was a Buffalo resident and a regular customer at Tops, her brother said.
“We would like to personally thank the security guard’s family,” brother Christopher Moyer told local news station WIVB, referring to Salter.
Drury, who was adopted, had three siblings, including two brothers. She was reportedly assisting one of the brothers after he underwent a bone marrow transplant.
A single mother with six grandchildren, Chaney, 65, was visiting her sister in Buffalo when she was fatally shot, her son told The New York Times.
Chaney — a retired suit and baseball hat manufacturer — went to Tops with her sibling to buy strawberries to make shortcakes, and her sister hid in a freezer when the shooting began.
“But my mom cannot really walk like she used to,” Wayne Jones told the newspaper. “She basically can’t run.”
Patterson was a “family oriented” and “harmless” Buffalo native who drove others to the supermarket at a discounted price every day, grand-niece Teniqua Clark told The Times.
”That’s how he made his livelihood,” Clark said.
Patterson was fatally shot in the parking lot while helping someone put groceries into their car, Clark said. He was around 60 years old.
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