A grandmother who volunteered at the local soup kitchen. A brave security guard and retired Buffalo Police Officer. A civil rights and gun reform activist. Frequent church goers and choir members. Mom, dad, brother, sister, and pillars of the community.
Say their names. And when you think it’s been enough… say them again.
Aaron Salter, 55
a 55-year-old retired police officer, was working as a security guard at the grocery store when he was killed. Salter stood bravely in the face of evil and fired once at the terrorist, but the bullet bounced off the gunman’s body armor, according to Mark Poloncarz, the Erie County executive.
“He’s a true hero, and we don’t know what he prevented,” Joseph Gramaglia, Buffalo police commissioner said speaking on ABC’s “This Week.” “There could have been more victims if not for his actions.”
Mr. Salter’s son, Aaron Salter III, told the New York Times that he would described his father as a “car guy.” When Mr. Salter retired from the force, he bought a 1967 Cadillac Coupe DeVille, which he fixed, polished and cleaned in his free time.
“He told me it was going to be mine one day,” his son told the Times, “but I didn’t want it like this.”
Credit: Facebook / Andre Mackniel Sr.
Andre Mackneil, 53
A devout father of six children and an earnest Miami Heat fan traveled to Tops market that day to gather a few last minute supplies for his three- year- old son’s birthday party- a birthday cake, chips and soda.
Mr. Mackniel told his fiancée Tracey Maciulewicz before going into the store that he loved her, adding at the end, “I’ll be back,” told Maciulewicz to the New York Times.
“He was so genuine and so sweet and so kind — like no kind of person I’ve ever met before. It’s completely unfair that racism is still present in 2022, and it’s not OK that my son, who is half white and half Black, has to grow up without a father, ” Ms. Maciulewicz told the New York Times.
Katherine Massey, 72
Ms. Massey was a frequent writer for both the Challenger and the Criterion. She was known for her civil rights advocacy, gun control reform activism, and overall deep love she had for her community. Many in Massey’s family described her as “the glue” of the family, the Washington Post reported.
“She was in love with the community,” said her longtime friend Betty Jean Grant to the New York Times “And she loved Black people. And she would fight for anybody, without a doubt.”
“She was the most wonderful person in the world. She’d cut grass in the local park, do the trees, give kids on the street toys. That was my sister, anyone she could help,” Barbara Massey, her sister, told the paper.
Ruth Whitfield, 86
Was heavily involved in her church, Durham Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church as a member of the choir and a devout parishioner for over 50 years. Ms. Whitfield raised 4 children in Buffalo and had been in the community for more than 5 decades. In her more recent years, she remained doing what she loved most- taking care of her family, including her husband who was in a nursing home, and her eight beloved grandchildren.
“She was a religious woman who cared deeply for her family,” her daughter-in-law told the New York Times.
“My mom was the consummate mom. My mother was a mother to the motherless,” her son, retired Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell W. Whitfield told the Buffalo News
Celestine Chaney, 65
Breast cancer survivor, Ms. Chaney had gone to the supermarket that day with her sister to get strawberries to make shortcakes, a treat she loved. Born and raised on the east side, she was a single mother who worked at a suit manufacturer, and before retiring made baseball caps.
Her sister was able to make it into a cooler where people had been hiding from the gunman, but her son Wayne Jones told the New York Times, “my mom cannot really walk like she used to,” he said. “She basically can’t run.”
“She was a beautiful person, a spunky, independent woman,” he told the Washington Post, “The life of the party, just a joy to be around.”
Heyward Patterson, 67
Mr. Patterson, or better known by his family as “Big Tenny,” has lived in Buffalo his entire life and was a very family and community oriented man. A deacon at his church with a heaven-sent singing voice. On the daily, Mr. Patterson would travel to the supermarket giving rides to people for less money than they would have had to spend on a ride-sharing service, his grandniece Teniqua Clark told the New York Times.
“That was how he earned money to support three children,” said his nephew Terrell Clark.
As the terror begain, Mr. Patterson was helping someone load groceries into the trunk of a car when he was killed. “He didn’t even have a chance to run,” Ms. Clark told the Times, “He didn’t have a chance at all.”
When the family heard he had been at the Tops, they were completely stunned, but not shocked he was there. He was one of those neighborhood characters that everyone seemed to know because he was so heavily involved in the community.
His cousin, Deborah Patterson told the Post, she was trying to find comfort in, “picturing Tenny helping with groceries in heaven,” and in a Patterson family saying: “We never say ‘Goodbye’ — always ‘In a minute.’”
Geraldine Talley, 62
Best known for her love language of making her family and friends a variety of delicious treats on the daily, akin to her affinity for baking sweet treats, her personality was described as “the sweetest” says her niece, Tamika Harper to People Magazine.
Better known by friends or loved ones as Talley or “Gerri,” she had gone to Tops grocery store with her fiancé, Gregory Allen, during their regular Saturday errand run. Allen told the Buffalo News that the couple had split up to get different items and soon after the shooting began.
Kaye Chapman-Johnson, Talley’s younger sister, told ABC News ,“Our sister, we had so many plans together, so many plans, and everything has just been stripped away from us. Our lives will definitely never be the same again.”
Roberta Drury, 32
Ms. Drury had gone to the Tops supermarket to buy groceries to make dinner, told her sister, Amanda Drury to the New York Times. A recent Buffalo transplant from Syracuse, she dropped everything to move to Buffalo in order to take care of her older brother and his children once he was diagnosed with leukemia.
“She was very vibrant. She always was the center of attention and made the whole room smile and laugh.” Told her sister, Amanda Drury in a Times interview.
Margus D. Morrison, 52
Margus Morrison was a father, husband and school bus aide. His brother Frederick Morrison was outside on Saturday when people started talking about a shooting at Tops Friendly Market- the grocery store where his older brother Margus did his regular shopping.
When Frederick learned Margus was killed, “I broke down,” he told the Washington Post, “he was a fun, lovable guy with a nice spirit who liked to joke.”
These two were brothers by blood, but best friends by choice. ““It hurts me so much right now because I wasn’t expecting to lose him,” he told the paper.
Pearl Young, 77
Ms. Young loved the church and was a regular at its soup kitchen where she would prepare and distribute food, according to the Washington Post . Young also taught Sunday school and led youth groups, in addition to working as a substitute teacher even at age 77. She was a woman of her community and volunteered regularly as part of her religious duty.
“My mom just felt that she needed to give back to people,” Damon Young, her son, told the Post. According to the article, She and Damon had a shared fondness for ambrosia salad, and she was a longtime fan of the soap opera “The Young and the Restless.” When he picked her up for errands or outings, Damon Young said, “she would always tell me, ‘Wait until ‘The Young and the Restless’ goes off. Pick me up after that.’”
Remember these names. Honor these names. And never forget the legacies that each of these lives told. For information on how to continue support for the community, visit www.buffalorising.com/2022/05/how-to-help-a-community-rocked-by-tragedy.
On May 14, 2022, the Buffalo community suffered a devastating act of violence when a gunman opened fire at the Tops Friendly Market on Jefferson Avenue, killing ten people and wounding three. Many have asked how to help.In partnership with Tops, the National Compassion Fund has established the Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund to provide direct financial assistance to the survivors of the deceased and those directly affected by this tragedy. Tops has seeded this Survivors Fund with $500,000 to get it started. One hundred percent (100%) of the contributions donated to this fund will go directly to victims and survivors of this atrocity. Qualifying charitable donations to this fund are tax deductible.The National Compassion Fund is the leading authority on financial assistance to victims of mass casualty events. It is a subsidiary of the National Center for Victims of Crime, the nation’s leading resource and advocacy center for victims of all types of crime. Click here to donate.
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