The Buffalo News reports one of the 10 victims killed in Saturday’s mass shooting has been identified as 55-year-old security guard Aaron Salter Jr., a former lieutenant with the Buffalo Police Department who confronted the gunman before he was fatally shot.
“The security guard that was killed did shoot and hit the suspect but it did not penetrate the body armor,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told CNN early Sunday morning. “Former Buffalo Police Lieutenant Aaron Salter died a hero trying to stop the shooter and protect others in the community.”
Mayor Brown isn’t the only city official praising Salter Jr. for his courage.
Buffalo Police Chief Joseph Gramaglia called the former cop “a hero in our eyes.”
“We’re sure he saved lives yesterday,” Gramaglia told the Buffalo News. “He went down fighting. He came in, he went towards the gunfire. He went towards the fight.”
Gramaglia added, “He took on a responsibility to protect the customers and the employees in the store. And he did exactly what he signed up for.”
Salter Jr. was one of 10 people killed in the racially-motivated attack at at Tops Friendly Market on Saturday afternoon. Hours later, alleged gunman Payton Gendron was arrested and arraigned on first-degree murder charges.
The 18-year-old, who was a student at SUNY Broome Community College in New York, pleaded not guilty.
“I understand my charges,” he said in court, just hours after he carried out the deadly shooting. The suspect could face up to life in prison without parole if convicted of the charges.