ABOVE: Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Governor Kathy Hochul and Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia are expected to provide an update Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET.
BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) – The mass shooting at Tops Markets on Buffalo’s East Side on Saturday afternoon claimed 10 lives and injured 3 others.
Information about the victims is limited. However, authorities confirmed Aaron Salter, a retired Buffalo Police officer who worked as a security guard, was killed trying to protect people inside the grocery store.
When the gunman, 18-year-old Payton S. Gendron of Conklin, New York, entered the store, Salter shot him multiple times, but Gendron’s armored armor deflected the bullets. Gendron then shot and killed Salter.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia hailed Salter as “a hero in our eyes”.
“I am very pleased to know him, a wonderful man, respected and loved by many. This is terrible. It’s tragic. I have no other words to describe it,” said Buffalo Police Benevolent Association President John Evans.
Evans said the Buffalo Police Department has reached out to Salter’s family to offer condolences.
Also killed was Ruth Whitfield, 86, mother of retired Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield, who told the Buffalo News that “his mother was a motherless mother.”
“She was a blessing to all of us,” he added.
Katherine Massey, who had gone to the store to pick up some groceries, was also killed, according to the newspaper.
Roberta Drury’s brother, 32, confirmed to Nexstar’s WIVB that his sister was killed in Saturday’s shooting. Drury was adopted and lives with his family in Buffalo. Her brother, Christopher Moyer, said they frequented Jefferson Avenue Tops regularly.
Drury was recently helping her brother recover from a bone marrow transplant.
An employee from the office of New York State Senator Tim Kennedy, Zeneta Everhart, said her son Zaire was in the store when the attack happened. He survived, suffered non-life threatening injuries and is resting at home.
Everhart said her son was “really under divine protection.” Kennedy summon The shooting was “a hate crime and an act of terror against our community.”
It’s not clear why Gendron traveled about 200 miles from Conklin to Buffalo, and that particular grocery store, located in a predominantly Black neighborhood, but the screenshots are purportedly from a broadcast on Twitch appears to show a scrawled racial symbol on the rifle used in the attack, as well as the number 14, likely alluding to the tagline of white supremacy.
At an earlier press conference, Erie County Sheriff John Garcia bluntly called the shooting a hate crime.
“This is a complete crime. It is (a) straightening up a racially motivated hate crime from someone outside of our community, outside of the Good Neighborhood City… entering our community and attempting to committed that crime on us,” said Garcia.
Twitch said in a statement that it ended Gendron’s transmission “less than two minutes after the violence began.”
The massacre sent shockwaves through a nation unstable with racial tensions, gun violence and a host of hate crimes. The day before the shootings, Dallas police said they were investigating a series of shootings in Koreatown as hate crimes. The Buffalo attack comes just a month after another mass shooting on a Brooklyn subway train left 10 people injured, and just over a year after a mass shooting at a Colorado supermarket left 10 dead. network.
Gendron, confronting police in the store’s lobby, holds a rifle to his neck but is persuaded to put it down. He was charged the following Saturday with murder, appearing before a judge in a paper robe.
Gendron’s name coincides with that stated in a 180-page manifesto that appeared online shortly after the attack and is credited for the act of violence in the name of white supremacy.
Buffalo police declined to comment on the document, widely circulated online, purported to outline the attacker’s racist, anti-immigrant and anti-immigrant beliefs, including a desire to ward off all non-European people coming to America. killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019.
Members of the FBI and local law enforcement were seen at Gendron’s parents’ home on Saturday night.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
https://www.wfla.com/news/national/retired-police-officer-among-10-killed-in-buffalo-mass-shooting/ Retired police officer among 10 killed in Buffalo mass shooting