These were the victims of the Buffalo attack

National

Ruth Whitfield, Roberta Drury, Aaron Salter Jr., Celestine Chaney and Heyward Patterson were five of the 10 victims of the shooting.

Cecilia Lawson, 70, lays flowers at a memorial erected opposite a Tops grocery store on Sunday May 15, 2022. Lawson’s friend, a colleague at her church, Ruth Whitfield, 86, was killed in Saturday’s mass shooting. Photo for the Washington Post by Matt Burkhartt

Shoppers running routine errands and four grocery store employees, including a security guard, were shot dead in Buffalo, New York, as more information about the victims of the attack emerged Sunday from officials and relatives.

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Much was still unknown about the 10 people who were fatally shot. Among the victims, who police did not immediately name, were:

Ruth Whitfield, 88: Whitfield was a devoted parishioner at Durham Memorial AME Zion Church for 50 years, where she sang in the choir, said her daughter-in-law, Cassietta Whitfield. Ruth Whitfield had lived in Buffalo for more than five decades and raised four children. In recent years, she had taken over the care of her husband, who was in a nursing home. Whitfield has eight grandchildren. “She was a religious woman who cared deeply about her family,” said Cassietta Whitfield.

Roberta Drury, 32: According to her sister, Amanda Drury, Drury was on her way to Tops supermarket to get groceries for dinner. “She was very lively,” said Drury. “She was always the center of attention and made the whole room smile and laugh.”

Aaron Salter Jr., 55: Salter was a retired Buffalo Police Department officer and worked as a security guard at the Tops grocery store where the attack took place since he left the force. Salter, who was described as a “hero” by the Buffalo Police Department commissioner, confronted and shot the gunman as he entered the grocery store Saturday afternoon. Salter punched the suspect, but the man was wearing a bulletproof vest that stopped the bullet.

“He’s been in the police force for 30 years and nothing like this has ever happened,” his son Aaron Salter III said. “He was just doing a security job, and this guy had to get in there and take all these innocent lives for no reason.”

Celestine Chaney, 65: Chaney was killed during the shooting, her son Wayne Jones, 48, said. Chaney was visiting her sister, and the two went to the supermarket because Chaney wanted to get strawberries to make shortcakes, which she loved, Jones said. “It’s kind of crazy that she went shopping there because we go shopping together,” he said.

During filming, Chaney’s sister made it into the freezer, Jones said, “but my mom can’t walk as well as she used to. She basically can’t run.”

Chaney was a single mother and worked at a suit maker and then made baseball caps before retiring. Jones was her only child and she had six grandchildren.

Heyward Patterson: Patterson drove to the supermarket every day and offered people rides for less money than they would pay for a cab or ride-sharing service, his great-niece Teniqua Clark said. “That’s how he made his living,” she said.

He was helping another person load groceries into the trunk of the car when he was killed, she said. “He didn’t even get a chance to run,” she said. “He didn’t stand a chance at all.”

Patterson, who had lived in the Buffalo area all his life and was in his late 50s or early 60s, was a kind person who was “family-oriented” and loved to sing in church, Clark said.

“I never thought this would happen to him, especially when it’s a hate crime with a racial profile,” she said. “He’s very harmless.”

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

https://www.boston.com/news/national-news/2022/05/15/victims-buffalo-shooting/ These were the victims of the Buffalo attack

Rick Schindler

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