- Buffalo police praised one of their former officers who was killed in Saturday’s mass shooting.
- The Daily Beast identified Aaron Salter Jr. as a security guard at the store and retired cop.
- Police said Salter confronted the gunman but his bullets did not pierce the shooter’s body armor.
Authorities offered high praise on Saturday to one of the victims of the Buffalo, New York, mass shootingwho was killed while trying to confront the gunman.
The Daily Beast reported the security guard was identified as Aaron Salter Jr., a 30-year veteran of the Buffalo Police Department. Salter’s son, Aaron Salter III, told The Daily Beast his father was “a hero.”
“I’m pretty sure he saved some lives today,” he said. “Today is a shock.”
Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told reporters at a press conference Saturday that one of the store’s employees, a “beloved” security guard who happened to be a retired Buffalo police officer, “engaged the suspect” and opened fire on him.
But Gramaglia said due to the gunman’s heavy body armor, none of the security guard’s bullets deterred the shooter.
“The suspect engaged our retired officer and he was ultimately shot and died at the scene,” Gramaglia said, adding that the guard was “a hero in our eyes.”
The Daily Beast reported that Salter, a father of three, had joined the Buffalo Police Department immediately after high school. One old Buffalo News article even described one of Salter’s narrow escapes from a shotgun attack in 1996, reporting that Salter and one of his colleagues faced down a suspect with a loaded 12-gauge shotgun.
“My first reaction was to duck,” Salter told the newspaper. “I do not enjoy looking down the barrel of a shotgun, and if it had not been for my partner shooting first, it would have been a golden opportunity to shoot us. My partner probably saved us.”
Salter’s LinkedIn profile said he had spent the last two years of his police career in the traffic division, policing events like parades and races.
His profile also said Salter’s dream was to work with cars and get them to run off water instead of gasoline. He described himself as “a jack of all trades a master of none” and “always working on my vehicles.”
Ten people were killed and three injured Saturday afternoon in western New York after an 18-year-old white gunman arrived at a Tops supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood and opened fire.
Authorities have said the shooting appeared to be an instance of “racially motivated violent extremism.”
Authorities had not identified the rest of the shooting victims, nor released their ages, as of Saturday evening. Gramaglia said Salter was the lone store employee who was killed, though three other workers were injured in the shooting.
The nine other fatalities were all customers, Gramaglia said.
Of all 13 victims, 11 were Black and two were white, he added.
The suspected gunman surrendered to police officers at the scene and was arraigned on a first-degree murder charge on Saturday evening. He appeared in court wearing a white paper gown and face mask, and pleaded not guilty.