A White supremacist opened fire at a supermarket in a Black neighborhood in Buffalo, NY. The 18-year-old shot 13 people; 10 died in the mass shooting on Saturday.
In the parking lot, three victims were killed, while the rest were slain inside the supermarket. 11 of the 13 people shot were Black, and the remaining two were white. Four of the victims were store employees, while the rest were shoppers.
The event shook the Buffalo community, especially residents of the predominantly Black area. Tops Friendly Market is the only grocery store for miles.
On Sunday morning, in front of the supermarket, community members held a prayer vigil to honor those who died and call attention to the vile danger of white supremacy.
“As the names are emerging, it is so heartbreaking because you realize, oh, that’s a friend of your mother, that’s the aunt of another friend of your wife. A man that was simply buying cupcakes for his son’s birthday slaughtered at the counter – the cashier counter,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Buffalo native, told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.
“So no, it is deeply disturbing to all of us. This is a tight-knit community, they care about each other. We care about everyone, and our hearts are broken, no doubt about it.”
Buffalo police released the victims’ names on Sunday night as community members began speaking out to confirm their loved ones were among those shot.
Here are the names of the victims and their stories.
Aaron Salter Jr., 55
Retired officer Aaron Salter was among the dead, confirmed by Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia. For 30 years, Salter had served in the police force before working as a security guard for Tops Friendly Market, according to The Daily B.
When 18-year-old Payton Gendron began randomly firing at people – first in the parking lot and then inside the supermarket, the 55-year-old was working a shift at the store. Multiple shots were fired at Gendron by Salter; however, the gunman’s tactical gear could not be penetrated by bullets.
Before hunting the other victims, the security guard was shot and killed by Gendron.
“He went down fighting. He came in; he went towards the gunfire, he went towards the fight,” Gramaglia told ABC’s “This Week,” adding that there could have been more victims if not for Salter’s actions.
Aaron Salter III, the security guard’s son, told the Daily Beast that the shooting was “a shock,” calling his father a hero who likely “saved some lives today.”
This is Aaron Salter Jr.
By now, you’ve likely heard his story… but it’s one that needs to be shared again and again.
The 55 yr old was the security guard, the hero, who fired at the suspect — trying to stop the monster.
Rest In Peace, Hero, Mr. Salter. 💔 pic.twitter.com/eVJP7oOyOV
— Mel Orlins (@Mel_Orlins) May 15, 2022
Ruth Whitfield, 86
On Saturday night, retired Buffalo Commissioner, Garnell Whitfield, confirmed that his mother Ruth Whitfield was one of the shooting victims.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told churchgoers at the city’s True Bethel Baptist Church that he saw the former commissioner looking for his mother at the shooting scene on Saturday.
Garnell Whitfield said his mother was going to visit his father at a nursing home and had stopped at the supermarket to buy a few groceries, according to Brown, however, “nobody has heard from her.” The mayor said, later she was confirmed as a victim.
“My mom was the consummate mom,” Garnell Whitfield told The Buffalo News. “My mother was a mother to the motherless. She was a blessing to all of us.”
86-year-old Ruth Whitfield was returning home from visiting her husband in his nursing home when she stopped by Tops Friendly Market to pick up groceries — “a daily ritual,” her son, Garnell Whitfield, told @ABC Sunday morning. Ruth was among the 10 who lost their lives. pic.twitter.com/4GBBudz4fF
— Anastasia (@AnastasiaElyseW) May 15, 2022
Katherine “Kat” Massey, 72
A family member confirmed to The Buffalo News that the gunman killed Katherine Massey after she had gone to the store to pick up some groceries.
“She was a beautiful soul,” Massey’s sister, Barbara Massey, texted a reporter for the publication.
Barbara Massey said that their brother was supposed to pick Katherine Massey up when she was done grocery shopping. According to the Buffalo News, she spent hours calling her sister while standing outside the supermarket.
The 72-year-old victim was a staunch civil rights advocate, making sure Buffalo’s Black community was heard, according to former Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant, a friend of Katherine Massey’s for over 20 years.
Massey wrote a letter to the editor calling for stronger gun regulations at the federal level to combat both street violence and mass shootings, just last year.
“We lost a voice yesterday,” Grant told The Buffalo News. “We lost a powerful, powerful voice.”
Heyward “Tenny” Patterson, 67
For his faith and service at State Tabernacle church, Deacon Heyward “Tenny” Patterson was known in the community. When they could not walk there, he would often drive people to and from the supermarket, his friend Leonard Lane told WKYC-TV.
The deacon would also help carry their groceries. When he was killed in the massacre on Saturday, Patterson was in the middle of helping someone load groceries into the trunk of a car; his grand-niece Teniqua Clark told The New York Times.
“A lot of them don’t have cars, no buses. He’s just taking them home back and forth. He had a family, has a beautiful son, and they snatched him from them,” Lane said. “He loved his children, any man can see. And he loved God, that’s all that he wanted to do, help people.”
Heyward “Tenny” Patterson is one of the 10 killed in Tops according to his friend Leonard. He was a man of faith and service. He was a deacon at church and would drive people who didn’t have transportation to get groceries. @wkyc @WGRZ pic.twitter.com/4hpKf9Z8PY
— Emma Henderson (@EmmaHendersonTV) May 15, 2022
Pearly Young, 77
When she became one of the 10 people killed in the shooting, community service member Pearly Young was shopping at the supermarket.
According to 11Alive reporter Madison Carr, Young ran a weekly food pantry for the last 25 years, where she would feed people in the Central Park neighborhood every Saturday.
Carr was told by the family of the 77-year-old that she loved singing, dancing, and being with family. When she wasn’t at the shooting’s reunification site, Young’s daughter learned about her death. Through Facebook, the victim’s brother-in-law discovered her death.
“I shouldn’t have found out like that,” he told Carr.
Pearly Young, 77, was killed today in #Buffalo shopping for groceries.
For 25 years she ran a pantry where every Saturday she fed people in Central Park. Every. Saturday.
She loved singing, dancing, & being with family.
She was mother, grandma, & missionary. Gone too soon 🕊 pic.twitter.com/dQ5X9KBJCQ
— Madison Carter (@madisonlcarter) May 15, 2022
Roberta Drury, 32
When she was killed in the massacre, Roberta Drury stayed with family in Buffalo and was picking up groceries from the Tops to make dinner; her sister told The New York Times.
Her other brother told WIVB-TV that Drury had been recently helping one of her brothers recover from a bone marrow transplant.
“We would like to personally thank the security guard’s family,” he said, while Drury’s sister called her “very vibrant” and “made the whole room smile and laugh.”
Her funeral will be held in Syracuse.
ROBERTA DRURY: 32 YEARS OLD…WAS IN BUFFALO TO BE WITH FAMILY AND HELP BROTHER RECOVER FROM BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT… 💔 pic.twitter.com/gpJyvUFphE
— Jhas Williams (@thejhaswilliams) May 15, 2022
Celestine Chaney, 65
Celestine Chaney and her sister went to the supermarket to buy strawberries to make shortcakes, which she loved; when she was killed, her son, Wayne Jones, confirmed to The New York Times.
Chaney’s sister made it into the freezer to hide, when the shooting began.
“But my mom cannot really walk like she used to,” Jones told the Times. “She basically can’t run.”
Chaney worked at a suit manufacturer before making baseball caps until her retirement. She was a single mother and breast cancer survivor; Jones is her only child; however, she has six grandchildren and one great-grandchild, according to WBNS-TV. In her honor, Chaney’s family asks the public to wear pink ribbons.
This is Celestine Chaney.
Here she is with her son, Wayne.
We’re working to learn more about Celestine’s life and the type of person she was.
I’m told her granddaughter is on her way to Buffalo to be with her family.
Rest In Peace, sweet Celestine. 💔 pic.twitter.com/Tz2UwtZQMQ
— Mel Orlins (@Mel_Orlins) May 15, 2022
Marcus D. Morrison, 52
Marcus D. Morrison was a resident of Buffalo, New York.
Andre MacNeil, 53
Andre MacNeil was from Auburn, New York.
Geraldine Talley, 62
Geraldine Talley was from Buffalo, New York.