‘Hero’ Security Guard Killed in Gunfight with Buffalo Mass Shooter, Police Say

Retired Buffalo Cop Aaron Salter (Facebook/From the family of Aaron Salter)
Facebook/from the family of Aaron Salter

A retired police officer – killed in Saturday’s mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store – is being revered as a “hero” for his efforts to protect innocent shoppers from the callous gunman, who, authorities say, shot thirteen people, including ten fatally.

“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,” WIVB reported. “We’ve also learned that 86-year-old Ruth Whitfield was killed in the attack.”

At a press conference Saturday, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said the “18-year-old white male” suspect – now identified as Payton Gendron – entered the Tops Friendly Market after shooting four victims in the parking, including three who died, Breitbart News noted.

After entering the store, an exchange of gunfire ensued between Gendron and Salter, Gramaglia said. Salter was able to strike the suspect with at least one gunshot, but the gunman’s “armor plating” shielded him from the bullet, according to Gramaglia.

“The suspect then killed the security guard and moved through the store, shooting other individuals,” Breitbart News reported.

Gramaglia called Salter “a hero in our eyes,” according to WIVB.

“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,” said John Evans, Buffalo Police Benevolent Association President, according to the outlet. He added that the Buffalo Police Department had extended its condolences to the retired officer’s family.

WIVB reported that Ruth Whitfield’s son, Darnell Whitfield, is a former Buffalo Fire Commissioner.

Ruth Whitfield, 86, (pictured left) was killed in yesterday's shooting in Buffalo, New York. (Facebook)

Ruth Whitfield, 86, (left) was killed in Saturday’s mass shooting in Buffalo, New York. (Facebook)

Gendron is from Conklin, New York, some 200 miles from Buffalo, the Associated Press (AP) noted

Police said eleven of the victims were black and two were white, adding that the suspected gunman live-streamed part of the horrific act on the streaming service Twitch, according to the AP. Online inmate records and the New York State Penal Law Code show that Gendron has been charged with the first-degree murder of multiple victims during the same criminal transaction.

“This is the worst nightmare that any community can face, and we are hurting and we are seething right now,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown at the news conference, according to the AP. “The depth of pain that families are feeling and that all of us are feeling right now cannot even be explained.”


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