State Watch

What we know about the Buffalo shooting victims

A mass shooting at a local Tops supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y. on Saturday claimed the lives of ten people, leaving three others injured.

Authorities said that eleven of the thirteen people shot in the massacre were Black and that the suspected shooter, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, targeted Black shoppers and employees at the supermarket.

Gendron, a Conklin, N.Y. native, has been charged with first-degree murder as authorities investigate the incident as a hate crime.

Buffalo Police Department (BPD) said that four of the victims were employees at the supermarket and the rest were shoppers, according to ABC News

Here is what we know about the victims of the Buffalo supermarket shooting that have been identified: 

Ruth Whitfield

Whitfield, 88, was at the supermarket to buy groceries after visiting her husband in a nursing home.

Whitfield’s son, former BPD officer Garnell Whitfield, told ABC News that his mother, who had four children and eight grandchildren, was a devout Christian and wife to her husband.

“She was there just about every day, taking care of him, making sure he was well cared for by the staff, washing, ironing his clothes, making sure he was dressed appropriately, making sure his nails were cut and clean and shaved,” Whitfield told the media outlet. “All of that. Every day.”

Roberta Drury

Drury, 32, went to the supermarket to buy groceries to make dinner later that evening.

Drury’s sister, Amanda, told the New York Times her sister was a “vibrant” personality.

“She always was the center of attention and made the whole room smile and laugh,” Drury told the newspaper.

Drury, a Cicero, N.Y. native, moved to Buffalo in 2010 to help take care of her ailing brother, who received a bone marrow transplant to help treat his leukemia diagnosis, and help run his local restaurant as well, ABC News noted. 

Aaron Salter

Salter, 55, a retired BPD officer, was killed after he tried to confront Gendron during his rampage. 

Salter, who worked as a security guard at the supermarket, shot at Gendron, who was wearing a bulletproof vest. 

Gendron then returned fire at Salter, striking and killing him, ABC News reported. 

During an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” BPD Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia described Salter as a  “true hero,” saying his actions saved lives.

“He’s a true hero, and we don’t know what he prevented. There could have been more victims if not for his actions,” Gramaglia told moderator George Stephanopoulos in the interview. “He’s been a beloved member and employee of Tops here, working security and he went down fighting.”

Katherine “Kat” Massey 

Katherine Massey, 72, was known in the Buffalo community as an activist for civil rights and better education in the city, the Buffalo News reported. Massey was also a member of the We Are Women Warriors group as well. 

Massey’s sister, Brendam, told the newspaper that her sister “was a beautiful soul.”

Massey, nicknamed “Kat,” penned a letter to Buffalo News editor last year calling for more strict gun regulation in response to a string of gun-related deaths in the city. 

“There needs to be extensive federal action/legislation to address all aspects of the issue,” Massey wrote in the letter.

“Current pursued remedies mainly inspired by mass killings – namely, universal background checks and banning assault weapons – essentially exclude the sources of our city’s gun problems. Illegal handguns, via out of state gun trafficking, are the primary culprits.”

Celestine Chaney

Chaney, 65, was visiting the area when she and her sister entered the grocery supermarket to purchase strawberries for a shortcake.

Chaney’s son, Wayne Jones, told the New York Times that his mother’s sister entered the store’s freezer for safety, but Chaney wasn’t able to do so since she has mobility issues.

“It’s kind of crazy that she was there shopping, because we go shopping together,” Jones told the newspaper. 

Chaney previously made suits and hats before retiring, and had six grandchildren.

Pearly Young

Young, 77, ran a food pantry that fed people in Buffalo’s Central Park, according to reporter Madison Carter.

“She loved singing, dancing, & being with family,” Carter said in the tweet. “She was mother, grandma, & missionary. Gone too soon.”

Heyward Patterson

Patterson was killed while helping load an elderly woman’s groceries into her vehicle, his friend Tony Sanders told Buffalo News. 

According to the New York Times, Patterson spent his spare time giving residents rides to the supermarket and helping them carry groceries.

In a statement to the local newspaper,

“He was just an outgoing person,” Patterson’s wife, Tirzah, said in a statement to Buffalo News. “He was an all-around person, with a good heart, good spirit, very mild, and a sense of humor. He was the best deacon here; we had an excellent deacon. He’s going to be missed in this area and at home. He was a good man.”

Margus Morrison

Morrison, 52, was a father of three, according to ABC 7 in Buffalo.

Geraldine Chapman Talley

Talley was a mother of two and like a second mother to her nieces, People reported. She was also known for making a really good cheesecake.

The 62-year-old stopped in at Tops with her fiancé to buy food for dinner.

Her niece, Tamika Harper, told People that Talley “loved everybody.”

“She was always smiling. She didn’t like confrontation. She wanted everything to be easy and full of love,” Harper said.

Andre Mackneil

Mackneil, 53, of Auburn, New York, was visiting relatives in Buffalo, according to USA Today.

He went to Tops to purchase a surprise birthday cake for his grandson.

Injured survivors

Zaire Goodman, 20, is an employee at Tops who survived a bullet through his neck, Buffalo News reported. He was outside collecting shopping carts when the gunman opened fire.

Jennifer Warrington, 50, is a pharmacist at the supermarket who also survived the attack, according to Buffalo News.

Christopher Braden, 55, of Lackawanna, New York, also survived the shooting.

Updated: 9:54 a.m. May 16

Tags Buffalo Buffalo Buffalo mass shooting Buffalo Police Department Buffalo Police Department Hate crimes Mass shooting New York Tops Supermarket

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