Buffalo shooting: Here's what we know about the victims

Buffalo, New York - A retired police officer, an 86-year-old woman, and a longtime missionary were among the 10 people tragically shot and killed in Saturday’s racially motivated terrorist attack at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket.

Mourners attend a vigil for victims of the terrorist attack at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York.
Mourners attend a vigil for victims of the terrorist attack at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York.  © REUTERS

Police have identified the victims of the shooting at a Tops Friendly Markets store and notified their families, but haven’t released any names publicly.

Family members and colleagues of some victims have begun to share their stories with the media and online.

Thirteen people were shot in total, 11 of whom were Black.

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Authorities arrested Payton Gendron (18) of Conklin, New York, in connection with the shooting. Gendron previously garnered police attention with a threat he made last year. He was brought in for a mental health evaluation and then released. The FBI said he wasn't on their radar before the shooting.

A manifesto allegedly written by Gendron describes the supermarket as being in a ZIP code with "the highest Black percentage that is close enough to where I live."

Here’s what we know about the victims.

Aaron Salter Jr.

Retired cop Salter 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, was called "a hero" by his son in an interview with The Daily Beast.

"I’m pretty sure he saved some lives today," Aaron Salter III told the website.

Salter 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."

Ruth Whitfield

Before Saturday’s shooting, the 86-year-old Whitfield spent time visiting her 88-year-old husband at a nursing home, according to Buffalo news station WGRZ.

She was buying food at Tops when the gunfire began, her son, Garnell Whitfield, told the TV outlet. Garnell is the former Buffalo Fire Commissioner.

"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."

Katherine Massey

Massey was one of the six shoppers at Tops to be killed by the gunman, her sister, Barbara Massey, told The Buffalo News.

"She was a beautiful soul," Barbara said of her sibling in a text message.

Pearly Young

The 77-year-old Young was shopping at the supermarket when she was fatally shot, according to Buffalo native Madison Carter, who is a reporter for the 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."

Roberta Drury

Drury (32) was a Buffalo resident and a regular customer at the Tops supermarket where the shooting occurred, her brother said.

"We would like to personally thank the security guards family," brother Christopher Moyer told local news station WIVB.

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.

Andre Mackneil

Andre Mackneil was reportedly in town visiting relatives.

At the time of the shooting, he was at Tops shopping for a birthday cake for his son, who had just turned three. The cake was supposed to be a surprise.

Mackniel was 53 years old when he died.

Heyward Patterson

Heyward Patterson, a 67-year-old deacon at a local church, was reportedly volunteering at a food kitchen on Saturday. He went to Tops to get more supplies, and that's when the fatal shooting occurred.

He was known for driving fellow community members to the grocery store if they didn't have transportation.

Celestine Chaney

Celestine Chaney (65) was also reportedly among those killed.

Her granddaughter, Kay Savvy, wrote on Facebook, "I am so heartbroken… my grandma was murdered basically for the color of her skin in 2022."

Geraldine Talley

Geraldine Talley (62) had only stepped away from her fiancé for moments before shooting broke out at Tops.

Talley's sister, Kaye Chapman-Johnson, told ABC, "I am so angry, just devastated. This is so hard for our family right now. Our sister, we had so many plans together, so many plans, and everything has just been stripped away from us."

"Our lives will definitely never be the same again," she continued. "She just was truly an amazing woman. And I'm going to miss her dearly."

Talley's fiancé survived the shooting.

Margus Morrison

Marcus Morrison (52) was also killed in the attack. He is survived by his three children.

Zaire Goodman (20) of Buffalo, Jennifer Warrington (50) of Tonawanda, and Christopher Braden (55) of Lackawanna were injured but survived the incident.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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