More information is being revealed about the fatal victims of Saturday’s racist mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.
One of the 10 people killed in the shooting at Tops Friendly Market waged by suspected white supremacist Payton Gendron was a former city police officer. Aaron Salter Jr., who was working as a security guard at Tops Friendly Market on Jefferson Avenue, was one of the 11 shooting victims who are Black in a shooting that took place in a Black community.
Thirteen people total were hit by gunfire, including two white people. Complete information about all of the people who were killed and injured was not immediately made public. Nine of those who were killed were customers. Three supermarket employees sustained non-life-threatening injuries. A hate crime investigation has begun.
Here’s what else we know about the victims so far.
Aaron Salter Jr.
Salter, a father of three, was remembered by his son as a “hero” who prevented further carnage as he engaged Gendron with gunfire that eventually took the life of the 30-year veteran of the Buffalo Police Department.
“I’m pretty sure he saved some lives today,” Aaron Salter III told the Daily Beast. “He’s a hero.”
Buffalo Police Chief Joseph Gramaglia described Salter as “a hero in our eyes,” the Buffalo News reported.
A witness told the New York Times he knew Salter.
“It’s hard to grasp,” Clarence Jones said. “It’s hard. It’s hard.”
Salter’ former law enforcement status was somewhat paradoxical as police officers responding to a mass murder taking place in real-time somehow managed to not kill Gendron, who was reportedly talked out of dying by suicide as he held a gun to his neck.
It was not immediately clear if Buffalo police even fired a single shot at a man suspected of a crime that is exponentially more severe than the types of nonviolent police encounters that routinely end with Black civilians being killed.
The 86-year-old mother of Buffalo’s former fire commissioner was also killed in Saturday’s shooting. Ruth Whitfield was shopping when the heavily armed and armored Gendron entered Tops Friendly Market and killed her along with nine other people.
“I never dreamed I’d ever be having a phone call like this,” retired Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell W. Whitfield told the Buffalo News about learning his mother had been killed in the mass shooting. “My mom was the consummate mom. 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.”
This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.