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On Saturday morning, Aaron Salter Jr. was a retired police officer working as a security guard at a Buffalo, NY supermarket. By nightfall, Salter Jr. would be one of 10 people killed by a racist domestic terrorist.
Salter Jr. was hailed for his bravery, with officials saying his actions before he was struck down likely saved the lives of others, per CBS News.
White-knuckled mass shootings continue to tear America apart.
Aaron Salter Jr., who worked for the Buffalo Police Department decades before retiring several years ago, according to the Buffalo News, confronted the suspected gunman inside Tops Friendly Markets, officials said.
Salter’s shots failed to penetrate the armored vest of the suspected gunman, later identified as 18-year-old Payton Gendron, and the gunman returned fire, killing Salter.
A hero without a cape in Buffalo
“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,” Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said on ABC’s “This Week.” “We’re sure he saved lives yesterday.”
Erie County Sheriff John Garcia echoed that sentiment at a press conference Sunday.”I can’t say enough about our retired fellow colleague, Aaron Salter, who confronted this individual to save the lives of others. And may he rest in peace.”
The deadly attack is being investigated on state and federal levels as a racially motivated hate crime. Eleven of the 13 people who were shot were Black, including Salter.
Innocent Blacks are killed as guilty Whites are routinely arrested.
Gendron was arrested and arraigned on a murder charge, to which he pleaded not guilty. He is being held in custody under suicide watch, Garcia said.
Officials said Gendron was fueled by racist hatred and chose his target because of its location in a neighborhood with a high Black population, as reflected in a hate-filled manifesto purportedly written by the suspect and posted online before the attack.
According to CBS News, in the document, the author identifies himself as Gendron and details a litany of racist ideas about White Americans being “replaced” by ethnic minorities, reflecting an ideology that has fueled several mass shootings in recent years.