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We Speak Their Names:  Honoring the Victims of the Buffalo Shooting 
By Dr. Valerie Wardlaw  Contributing Writer 
Published May 19, 2022

 

 

 

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Last Saturday afternoon, the citizens of Buffalo, New York had no idea that a shooter wearing military fatigues, body armor, and a tactical helmet would intentionally walk into Tops supermarket and randomly aim a Bushmaster XM-15 rifle at shoppers going about their lives and employees working their shifts.  

Payton Gendron, 18, of Conklin, NY, has been charged with first-degree murder after killing 10 people and wounding three others in the Tops supermarket. Gendron has pleaded not guilty.   

The Erie County Sheriff called the shooting “pure evil.”  Federal authorities are investigating the shooting as a hate crime and may file charges. Eleven of the 13 people shot were Black.  

As shock and outrage spread throughout the world, NAACP President Derrick Johnson said he and the NAACP organization are “shattered and extremely angered by the incident. Hate and racism have no place in America.”  President Joseph Biden called the alleged shooter a “hate-filled soul.” 

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The Buffalo Police Department released the names of the 10 people who were murdered. They ranged in age from 32 to 86.  Three persons were injured in the shooting, but are expected to recover fully. The Sentinel has chosen to honor the victims. We speak their names: 

 

Aaron Salter (Courtesy photo)

Aaron Salter, 55, a retired Buffalo police officer who worked security at Tops supermarket and confronted the shooter to stop the shooting.  

Ruth Whitfield (Courtesy photo)

 

Ruth Whitfield, 86, the mother of former Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield. Ruth was on her way home after visiting her husband in a nursing home and she stopped at the store to get something to eat.   

 

Pearly Young (Courtesy photo) 

Pearly Young, 77, a mother, grandmother, and missionary who ran a food pantry in the Central Park neighborhood for 25 years, feeding people every Saturday.   

 

Katherine “Kat” Massey (Courtesy photo)

Katherine “Kat” Massey, 72, a former writer for the Black newspapers Buffalo Challenger and The Buffalo Criterion. Massey’s family said, “She took care of everything and she was amazing.”   

 

Deacon Heyward “Tenny” Patterson (Courtesy photo)

Deacon Heyward “Tenny” Patterson, 67, would help drive people who needed transportation to the Jefferson Avenue store.   

 

Celestine Chaney (Courtesy photo)

Celestine Chaney, 65, was a cancer survivor and grandmother of six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.  

 

Roberta Drury (Courtesy Image)

Roberta A. Drury, 32, a native of Syracuse, but living in Buffalo. 

 

Margus D. Morrison (Courtesy photo)

Margus D. Morrison, 52, a bus aide who worked for First Student. He loved kids, and kids loved him 

 

Andre Mackneil, 53, was a native of Auburn, NY, and engaged to marry Tracey Lynn Maciulewicz.  Macknell died on their son’s third birthday. Mackneil went to Tops to pick up a surprise birthday cake. 

 

Geraldine “Gerri” Talley (Courtesy photo) 

Geraldine “Gerri” Talley, 62, was a native of Buffalo. Friends of the avid baker say her Facebook page is filled with various desserts made for loved ones. 

 

The three survivors are Zaire Goodman, 20, of Buffalo, treated and released from the hospital; Jennifer Warrington, 50, a native of Tonawanda, NY, treated and released from the hospital; and Christopher Braden, 55, from Lackawanna, NY, had non-life-threatening injuries.   

 

Funeral arrangements for the victims had not been announced at press time. 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Celebration of Life | News
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