Aaron Salter Jr. was one of the first people murdered during the hate-fueled attack at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York Saturday afternoon.
Before taking a position as am armed security guard at the supermarket, he had served with the Buffalo Police Department for 30 years. The 55-year-old hadn’t been retired long when a gunman walked into his place of employment and opened fire.
Salter attempted to subdue the suspect, but the 18-year-old gunman was heavily armed and protected. The suspect returned fire and killed Salter.
He died a hero
Salter, who was described as “a hero in our eyes,” is being hailed a hero after confronting the suspected gunman, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, who stormed into the supermarket and began firing.
When Gendron entered the building, Salter was the first to engage with him.
Buffalo Police Chief Joseph Gramaglia stated that Salter was able to fire several shots at the suspect, and while he was hit at least once, there was no damage because of the tactical gear the suspect wore.
He’s a true hero, and we don’t know what he prevented. There could have been more victims if not for his actions. He’s been retired for several years. He’s been a beloved member and employee of Tops here, working security and he went down fighting,” Gramaglia told ABC’s This Week.
“We’re sure he saved lives yesterday.”
“Aaron was a great individual and I know in his heart he wanted to save as many people as he could and it didn’t surprise me to hear he engaged the guy right away and tried to stop him…he was the kind of guy that would lay down his life like that and protect his community,” Scott Escobar, a retired Buffalo Police Officer who worked alongside Salter for many years, told WGRZ.
The retired police officer was one of 10 people who were killed Saturday afternoon during the devastating racist attack.
Eleven of the 13 people who were shot at the Tops supermarket were Black. Three others survived with non-life-threatening injuries.
Thank you, Aaron Salter Jr., your final act of standing up against a racist gunman definitely saved lives.
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