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A Civil Rights Advocate And Retired Officer Were Among The Victims Of The Buffalo Supermarket Mass Shooting

One of the victims, Katherine Massey, had called for federal action to combat gun violence before she became one of 10 victims who was shot to death inside a Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo.

By Gina Tron
Two victims from the Buffalo shooting Aaron Salter Jr. and Heyward Patterson

Ten lives were senselessly lost over the weekend in what authorities say was a racially-motivated mass shooting inside a Buffalo, New York supermarket.

An 18-year-old white man is accused of driving 200 miles from his hometown of Conklin, New York, to specifically target a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo Saturday afternoon. Payton Gendron is suspected of opening fire at a Tops Friendly Markets in the city; he has since been charged with first-degree murder but investigators are looking intopotential terrorism and hate crime” charges.

In all, the gunman is accused of shooting 13 people; 11 of the 13 are Black. 

As Buffalo and the nation reels from yet another mass shooting, here are the 10 victims killed while simply going about their day.

Aaron Salter

Aaron Salter, a 55-year-old retired police officer, was working as a security guard at the grocery store when he was killed. Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told the outlet that Salter is a "hero in our eyes." 

He died trying to stop the shooter, according to People.

"That's why he's known as a hero," Salter's cousin Irvin Salter told the outlet. "Serving and protecting, that's what he was there to do. And he made a difference that enabled people to get away because it altered [the gunman's] plans."

Pearl Young

Pearl Young, 77, was a beloved substitute teacher at Emerson School of Hospitality, a school in the Buffalo Public School District.

"She was always laughing and talking non-stop," Young’s colleague Stephanie Courtney, told People. "The kids loved her. She took over a special ed class with students with profound disabilities. She learned how to Zoom during COVID."

Young is the wife of a minister, with whom she had three children. She was also the grandmother of 10.

Katherine Massey

Katherine Massey, 72, was a civil rights activist who spent much of her free time trying to better the world. 

Former Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant told The Buffalo News that the community “lost a powerful, powerful voice.”

Last year, Massey wrote an opinion piece calling for federal action to address gun violence. She was also a fierce advocate for civil rights and education, according to the Buffalo News. 

"She was unapologetic about making sure our community was not ignored," Grant told the outlet.

Deacon Heyward Patterson

Deacon Heyward Patterson, 67, was known in Buffalo for his dedication to his church and his community, WGRZ reports.

He would regularly drive people who needed transportation to the Tops market.

"A lot of them don't have cars, no buses. He's just taking them home back and forth. He had a family, has a beautiful son, and they snatched him from them," Leonard Lane said. "He loved his children, any man can see. And he loved God. That's all that he wanted to do, help people.”

A photo of Buffalo shooting victim Celestine Chaney

Celestine Chaney

Celestine Chaney, 65, was a grandmother of six and a great grandmother of one, according to WBNS. She was also a cancer survivor. 

She had just celebrated her 65th birthday, according to People. Her son Wayne Jones told the outlet that he was planning to surprise her with a ticket for a cruise to the Caribbean.

Chaney loved playing Bingo and shopping. 

Roberta A. Drury

Roberta Drury, 32, was a woman who was full of life and care, her friend Krystle Pino told WGRZ. 

She recently helped her brother recover from a bone marrow transplant, WIVB-TV reports.

Her sister Amanda Drury told The New York Times that she "was very vibrant."

"She always was the center of attention and made the whole room smile and laugh," she said.

Andre Mackneil

While there isn’t much information available on Andrew Mackneil, he was 53 years old, WRGZ reports. He lived in Auburn, New York. 

Geraldine Chapman Talley

Geraldine Chapman Talley, 62, raised two children and was also a mother figure to others, including her niece Kesha Chapman, People reports. 

 "Auntie Gerri was the sweetest person," Chapman told the outlet, explaining that Talley "loved everybody."

"She was always smiling. She didn't like confrontation. She wanted everything to be easy and full of love."

Talley worked for years as an executive assistant. She was known for making an excellent cheesecake.

Chapman's cousin Tamika Harper Talley told People, “She would give you the shirt off her back. Why did this happen to her? Why?"

Margus D. Morrison

Margus D. Morrison, 52, was buying snacks for his standing date movie night he had with his wife that evening, CNN reports.  He had three children and a stepdaughter.

His stepdaughter, Sandra Demps, told CNN that Morrison was a "hero" who helped provide for her disabled mother. He worked as a school bus aide. 

"It's a very big loss to the community," she said, adding that he was full of love.

Morrison loved music and collecting sneakers.

Ruth Whitfield

Ruth Whitfield, an 86-year-old woman, was shot to death shortly after visiting her husband in a nearby nursing home.

"From her daily sojourn to care for my father, she left the nursing home and stopped right there, a few blocks from the nursing home, at the store to grab something while on the way home. She didn't deserve to be murdered," her son Garnell Whitfield Jr. told People.

Garnell remembers his mother for her unconditional love.

“She loved us to a fault, even when we were wrong,” he said. “She was an epitome of love. And we aspire to be as much like her as we can."

This is a developing story.

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