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“Hero” Guard, Buyer Among Buffalo Shooting Victims – CBS17.com

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BUFFALO, NY (AP) — Aaron Salter was a popular community member and security guard who knew the Tops Friendly Market shoppers by name. When they were attacked by a gunman with a gun, he quickly stepped in to protect his community.

The retired Buffalo police officer shot the attacker multiple times, hitting his armored vest at least once. The bullet missed and Salter was shot.

“He’s a true hero,” Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Sunday. “Without his actions, there could have been more victims.”

Salter was one of 10 victims of an attack whose victims represented a cross-section of life in the predominantly black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York. They were gunned down by a white man who, according to authorities, showed up at the store with “the express purpose” of killing black people. Three others were injured.

Salter “cared about the community. He took care of the store,” said resident Yvette Mack. She remembered him as someone who “let us know whether we were right or wrong.”

Mack went to the store to play lottery numbers and shop and said she spoke to Salter just before the shooting.

“I played my numbers. He said, “I see you play your numbers!” I laughed. And he also played his numbers. Can you imagine seeing someone you don’t know isn’t going home?”

Among those Salter tried to protect was a man who was visiting relatives from out of town and was picking up a birthday cake as a surprise for his grandson.

“He never came out with the cake,” Clarissa Alston-McCutcheon said of her cousin. She said that kind of surprise is typical for him. He was “just a loving and caring guy. Loved family. Was always there for his family.”

Ruth Whitfield, the 86-year-old mother of retired Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield. She had just returned from visiting her husband at a nursing home, as she did every day, when she stopped by Tops to buy some groceries and was killed, Whitfield told The Buffalo News.

Ruth Whitfield was “a mother to the motherless” and “a blessing to us all,” said her son. He attributed her strength and dedication to family to her strong religious beliefs.

“She inspired me to be a man of God and to do everything I do to the best of my ability. I couldn’t have done it without her,” Whitfield said.

Also killed was shopper Katherine Massey, whose sister Barbara Massey called her “a beautiful soul.”

Zaire Goodman, 20, was among the wounded after being shot in the neck, State Senator Tim Kennedy said at a service on Sunday. Goodman is the son of one of Kennedy’s associates.

“I’m devastated. I’m angry,” Kennedy said, adding that Goodman was recovering. “And I’m thinking of the families who aren’t welcoming a loved one home tonight.”

https://www.cbs17.com/news/hero-guard-church-deacon-among-buffalo-shooting-victims/ “Hero” Guard, Buyer Among Buffalo Shooting Victims – CBS17.com

DUSTIN JONES

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