Security guard and ex-cop killed in Buffalo shooting hailed as heroes

Security guard and ex-cop killed in Buffalo shooting hailed as heroes

  • Buffalo police have 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 a retired police officer.
  • Police said Salter engaged the gunman, but his bullets did not penetrate the shooter’s bulletproof vest.

Authorities on Saturday commended one of the victims of the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, who died while trying to confront the shooter.

The Daily Beast reported that 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 that 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 news conference Saturday that one of the store’s employees, a “dear” security guard who turned out to be a retired Buffalo police officer, “was confronted the suspect” and opened fire on him.

But Gramaglia said that because of the gunman’s heavy armor, none of the security guard’s bullets deterred the shooter.

“The suspect confronted our retired officer and 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, joined the Buffalo Police Department right out of high school. An old Buffalo News article even described one of Salter’s narrow escapes from a 1996 shotgun attack, reporting that Salter and one of his colleagues confronted a suspect with a loaded 12-gauge shotgun.

“My first reaction was to duck,” Salter told the newspaper. “I don’t enjoy looking down the barrel of a shotgun, and if it hadn’t 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 that he had spent the last two years of his police career in the traffic division, policing events such as parades and races.

His profile also said that Salter’s dream was to work on cars and make them run on 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 walked into a Tops supermarket in a predominantly black neighborhood and opened fire.

Authorities have said the shooting appeared to be a case of “racially motivated violent extremism.”

Authorities had not identified the rest of the shooting victims, or released their ages, as of Saturday night. Gramaglia said Salter was the only store employee to die, although three other workers were injured in the shooting.

The other nine deaths were all customers, Gramaglia said.

Of the 13 victims, 11 were black and two were white, he added.

The suspected gunman turned himself in to police officers at the scene and was booked on a first-degree murder charge Saturday night. He appeared in court wearing a white paper coat and face mask, and pleaded not guilty.

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