Remembering The Victims Of The Buffalo Mass Shooting
On May 14, 2022, an 18-year-old gunman walked into the Tops Friendly Market and allegedly shot and killed ten people, injuring three others, in what authorities believe was a racially-motivated attack.
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On May 14, an 18-year-old gunman allegedly killed 10 people in the Tops Friendly Market grocery store in Buffalo, New York. The Buffalo News reported that the shooter was motivated by racial hatred. According to The Washington Post, 11 of the 13 victims were Black. The gunman systematically shot both workers and customers. Four of the victims were store employees.
Learn more about the victims whose names have been released.
Aaron Salter, Jr.
Retired police office Aaron Salter, Jr., 55, gave his life protecting others in the Buffalo shooting. He was working as a security guard at Tops Market when the gunman started killing people in quick succession. According to The Buffalo News, Salter didn’t hesitate to pull out his weapon and confront the shooter despite the fact that the shooter had on protective gear and was well-armed. Salter fired at the assailant, but his armor protected him, and he then killed Salter.
"He's a true hero, and we don't know what he prevented. There could have been more victims if not for his actions. He's been retired for several years. He's been a beloved member and employee of Tops here, working security and he went down fighting. We're sure he saved lives yesterday,” Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told ABC News.
Ruth Whitfield, 86, stopped in the store to get something to eat after she visited her husband in a nursing home when the shooting occurred. WGRZ reported that she is the mother of Former Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield. She had devoted her life to her family.
Garnell Whitfield told the Buffalo News, “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.” He also told PEOPLE, “She loved us beyond measure, unconditionally. She loved us to a fault, even when we were wrong. She was an epitome of love. And we aspire to be as much like her as we can."
Pearl Young, 77, grew up in Alabama, then moved to New York as a young adult where she married a minister. The couple had three children and 10 grandchildren, reported PEOPLE. She was a much-loved, long-time substitute teacher at the Emerson School of Hospitality.
Stephanie Courtney, who worked with Young, said, "She was always laughing and talking non-stop. The kids loved her. She took over a special ed class with students with profound disabilities. She learned how to Zoom during COVID."
Roberta Drury, 32, was shopping for groceries for her family when she was killed by the gunman. Her brother Christopher Moyer is recovering from leukemia, and he shared with NPR that Drury often shopped for groceries for his family to help them through the difficult time.
Amanda Drury told The New York Times that her sister Roberta "was very vibrant." Amanda also stated, “She always was the center of attention and made the whole room smile and laugh.”
Celestine Chaney, 65, had celebrated both Mother’s Day and her 65th birthday days before she was murdered by the gunman. Her son, Wayne Jones, Jr. told PEOPLE that he had just celebrated with her. They had a home cooked meal and a sip and paint party the weekend before the shooting.
Teresa Hagler, Chaney’s aunt, told WBRC that “she will be remembered for her huge smile and contagious laugh”. Hagler said that Chaney had a laugh like nobody else. She also shared that Chaney’s son and seven grandchildren are deeply grieving her loss.
Katherine Massey, 72, was an advocate for civil rights and education. She was killed in the mass shooting only a year after she had written an opinion piece for The Buffalo News that called for federal legislation to tackle the problem of guns in the U.S. The Washington Post reported that she called a 2021 shooting “another gut-wrenching account”.
Massey had a strong voice and was vocal about many issues, writing many letters that were published in local papers about matters that concerned her, including gun violence. In a 2018 piece she wrote for the Buffalo Challenger, a Black community newspaper, she described people who were overwhelmed with grief for “their loved ones — infants to grandparents — lost in the rampage of gun murders.”
Heyward Patterson, 67, was helping someone load groceries into their car when the gunman killed him, The New York Times reported. To support his three children, he would give people rides to and from the supermarket “for less money than they would have had to spend on a taxi or a ride-sharing service,” said his grandniece Teniqua Clark.
Patterson’s friend Tonie Sanders told The Buffalo News that he was a “deacon and my best friend”. She also shared, "He was a wonderful man, and I am so sad this happened.” Others described him as a loving person. Patterson leaves behind a wife and a daughter.
Geraldine Chapman Talley
Geraldine Chapman Talley, 62, was shopping with her fiancé when she was killed by the gunman. They got separated and then he couldn’t find her. She had two children: Genicia Talley, 42, and Mark Talley, 32.
Talley was also like a second mother to Kesha Chapman, her niece. Chapman told PEOPLE, “Auntie Gerri was the sweetest person. Chapman added that Talley “loved everybody. She was always smiling. She didn't like confrontation. She wanted everything to be easy and full of love."
Andre Mackniel, 53, had stopped in the supermarket to get a birthday cake for his son when he was killed by the gunman. His cousin, Clarissa Alston-McCutcheon, told The New York Post, “He never came out with the cake.”
Alston-McCutcheon said Mackniel often did kind gestures. She said he was a loving and caring guy who loved his family and was always there for them.
Margus D. Morrison
Margus D. Morrison, 52, was out buying snacks for a fun weekly movie night he planned to enjoy with his wife when he was fatally shot by the gunman. His stepdaughter, Sandra Demps, told CNN that he was a hero to the family. He helped provide for her disabled mother and took on a lot of responsibilities to help others.
Morrison was a school bus aide who was beloved by the community. He was also a sneaker collector and music lover. Demps said that he will be remembered for his kindness, humor and love.