The human cost of the White supremacist terror attack in Buffalo

by Nate Morris
The human cost of the White supremacist terror attack in Buffalo
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A beautiful afternoon at a community grocery store in Buffalo, NY was shattered by gunfire, violence and hatred on Saturday. A White supremacist terrorist, armed with assault weapons and poisoned by far-right extremist talking points, opened fire on innocent shoppers. The terrorist fired fifty rounds in the store, intentionally targeting Black and brown patrons.

While the goal of the killer was to erase the lives of his ten victims, he will not win.

His act of evil will be replaced by their legacies and the cowardice of White supremacy will be eradicated from our nation.

Uplifting the legacy of those we lost in Buffalo

Those lost in the Buffalo terror attack were mothers, fathers, grandparents and beloved community members. Details are still emerging about each of the victims. This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

These are the names and stories we know in this moment thanks to reporting from outlets like NPR and CBS News, and local Buffalo outlets.

Celeste Cheney, 65

Celese was a grandmother to six and a great-grandmother to one. She was a cancer survivor who loved church, playing Bingo and spending time with her family. A strong, loving, kind woman, Celeste was described by her daughter Dominique as “the sweetest person you could meet”.

Roberta Drury, 32

Roberta lived in Syracuse, but was in Buffalo to visit her brother as he recovered from a medical procedure. She was stopping by the store at the time to pick up food for dinner that evening. Her sister Amanda remembers Roberta as “vibrant”. She told the New York Times that her sister was “the center of attention and made the whole room smile and laugh”.

Andre Macknell, 53

Andre was in town from Auburn to visit family. He was stopping by the store to pick up a surprise birthday cake for his grandson. His cousin, Clarissa, said Andre loved surprising people with gifts like that. She said Andre was “a loving and caring guy. [He] loved family. [He] was always there for his family.”

Katherine “Kat” Massey, 72

Kat was an active community organizer in Buffalo who consistently sought ways to support and improve her community. During the pandemic, she helped to organize efforts to pass out free masks and PPE to community members. Last year, as violent rose nationally, she helped host a community forum to support youth and find ways to decrease gun crime.

Her sister, Barbara, described her as “a beautiful soul”.  Kat’s friend, Betty, told the local paper “We lost a voice yesterday. We lost a powerful, powerful voice.”

Margus Morrison, 52

Margus, a Buffalo native, was a father of three and a beloved member of the community. Loved ones describe him as “the nicest person”.

“He never bothered anyone,” a friend recalled.

Heyward Patterson, 68

Heyward was a deacon at a church around the block from Tops grocery store. He helped to manage the church’s soup kitchen and would often offer shoppers without vehicles a ride home with their groceries.

His wife Tirzah described Heyward as an exceedingly generous man.

“He would give the shirt off his back,” she told the local paper. “That’s who he is… You ask, he’ll give it. If he don’t got it, he’ll make a way to get it or send you to the person that can give it to you.”

“He’s going to be missed a lot,” she said.

Aaron Salter, 55

Salter, a former Buffalo Police officer, died while trying to save others at Tops grocery store. According to reports, Salter, who worked as a security guard at the store, fired at the terrorist in the parking lot, striking him once.

“He’s a true hero, and we don’t know what he prevented,” Buffalo’s police commissioner said at a press conference. “There could have been more victims if not for his actions.”

Yvette Mack, a frequent patron of the store, said Salter “cared about the community” and “looked after the store”.

Geraldine Talley, 62

Affectionately known as Gerrie, Geraldine Talley was at the store with her fiancé when the shooting began. In an interview with CNN, Lakesha Chapman described her Aunt Gerrie as “an amazing woman”.

“She’s sweet, sweet, you know, the life of the party,” Chapman recalled.

Gerrie was an avid baker, a mother and a person with a deep and genuine love for people.

“She didn’t meet a stranger,” Chapman said, “and that’s why this hurts so much.”

Ruth Whitfield, 86

Ruth was picking up food for dinner from the store after visiting her husband in a nearby nursing home. The “beloved wife, mother, and grandmother” was a pillar in the community.

Her son, a retired Buffalo Fire Commissioner, told CBS Mornings “My mother was the glue that held us together.”

Pearl Young, 77

Pearl was a longtime church goer, a substitute teacher and the leader of a food pantry. Every Saturday, young would feed people in need in Buffalo’s Central Park.

Local reporter Madison Carter wrote on Twitter that Pearl “loved dancing, singing and being with family”.

“She was just a family person,” said Pearl’s friend James Pennington. “It was impossible to have a bad day around her.

Three others injured

The attack left three other Buffalo injured . Zaire Goodman, Jennifer Warrington and  Christopher Braden all suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Zaire, an employee at the supermarket, was “shot through the neck”. Zaire’s mother told CNN she believes “divine intervention” protected her son from dying that day.

New York state Senator Tim Kennedy tells CNN that Zaire was released from the hospital. He is “recovering well… at home with family”.

A space of community resilience shattered

Tops, the grocery store where the attack took place, is “the lone grocery store in what is otherwise a food desert”, according to Buffalo native Leslie Mac.

Mac wrote in a post on Twitter that “the Black community in Buffalo fought for DECADES to get this store”.  She called it “a community rooted space”.

“Black victims were targeted in a place that is centered on community. A place they FOUGHT for to meet their needs,” she continued.

The attack has forced the store to close, cutting community members off from key resources. Mac says this will make an already traumatic experience even harder on the residents of Buffalo.

She urges those who wish to help to ” consider donating to the Buffalo Community Fridge” via Venmo at @bflocommunityfridge.

1 comment

Mother of Buffalo shooting victim calls for gun reform June 10, 2022 - 12:15 pm

[…] the 10 Black souls extinguished in the unprovoked attack, Everhart’s son survived. Yet, as she testified to Congress […]

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