BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The mass shooting at Tops Markets on Buffalo’s East Side Saturday afternoon claimed the lives of ten people and injured three others.
Information on the victims of this tragedy is limited. However, we know Aaron Salter, a retired Buffalo Police officer working as a security guard, was killed trying to protect those inside the grocery store. We’ve also learned that 86-year-old Ruth Whitfield was killed in the attack.
When the gunman, 18-year-old Payton S. Gendron of Conklin, New York, entered the store, Salter shot him multiple times, but the 18-year-old’s armored plating deflected the bullets. Gendron then shot and killed Aaron Salter.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia hailed Salter as “a hero in our eyes.”
“I had the pleasure of knowing him, great guy, well respected, well-liked. This is just horrific. It’s tragic. I don’t know what other words to describe it,” Buffalo Police Benevolent Association President John Evans said.
Evans said the Buffalo Police Department has reached out to Salter’s family to off their condolences.
Ruth Whitfield was the mother of former Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield.
A staffer from U.S. Senator Tim Kennedy’s office, Zeneta Everhart, said her son Zaire was inside the store when the attack took place. He survived, suffering non-life-threatening injuries, and is home resting.
Everhart said her son “is truly divinely protected.”