Remembering the victims in Buffalo
What you need to know today
NEW from THE TRACE: Buffalo shooting suspect has previously threatened a mass shooting. Why wasn’t he disarmed? Last year, the 18-year-old white supremacist who murdered 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket on May 14 was taken into police custody and ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation after threatening to shoot at a school. He was released a few days later. Although New York is one of 19 states with a red flag law, no family or household member, school official, or local police officer has reported it to authorities who allegedly been able to report possession of a firearm. Jennifer Mascia of The Trace sent detailed questions to the New York State Police – who confirmed that she had not applied for an emergency risk protection order – and looked into the ins and outs the outs of the law here.
The shooter would also have wanted to prolong the attack and would have carried out extensive reconnaissance. Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told CNN the suspect raised the possibility of going to “another large supermarket” after the Tops store where he carried out the attack. This was based in part on the shooter’s alleged online digital diary which reveals a careful planning and preparation process, including a 589-page document posted in April on a Discord server linked to the shooter’s name. He revealed that the attacker scouted the location of the shooting, monitored the movements of armed guards in the store and was confronted by the guard he would later fatally shoot, who wanted to know why he frequently came to the store.
All of the names of the Buffalo victims have now been released. The 10 people who died were between 32 and 86 years old, while the injured are 20, 50 and 55 years old. Here is who they were and some details of their lives:
- Aaron Salter Jr., 55, a retired Buffalo police officer working as the store’s security guard who exchanged fire with the shooter and slowed him down. “He’s a real hero, and we don’t know what he stopped,” the Buffalo Police Commissioner said.
- Roberta A. Drury, 32, was buying groceries for dinner, her sister said, “She was very dynamic. She was always the center of attention and made the whole room smile and laugh.
- Ruth Whitfield, 86, had eight grandchildren and sang in his church choir. “She was a religious woman who cared deeply about her family,” her daughter-in-law said.
- Celestine Chaney, 65, went to the store with her sister because she wanted to buy the ingredients to make strawberry shortcake. She was a retired mother of one son and had six grandchildren.
- Heyward Patterson, 67, helped customers with groceries and gave people rides as a job, her great niece said. He had three children and was helping someone load groceries when he was killed.
- Catherine Massey, 72 years old, was a beloved resident and lawyer who had previously written about her support for gun reform, including in a letter to the Buffalo News last May where she called for new federal laws. “She was the most wonderful person in the world. She cut the grass in the local park, made the trees, gave toys to the children in the street,” her sister said.
- André MacNeil, 53 years old, was collecting cake for his 3-year-old son, according to his fiancée, Tracey Maciulewicz. “He was a loving father. He was so genuine, so sweet and so kind – like no type of person I’ve ever met before.
- Margus D. Morrison, 52, a husband, father of three and beloved school bus assistant. “It hurts me so much right now because I never expected to lose him,” said one brother, while another said: “It was a joy to be with him.”
- Geraldine Talley, 62 years old, and mother of two children, was remembered as a kind person and an excellent cook by her family and friends. A “beautiful soul,” said an acquaintance. “She loved her family and those who weren’t family, she treated us like one of her own.”
- Young Pearl, 77 years old, was a regular attender and a weekly volunteer at a food pantry run by her church, her son said. “My mom just felt she needed to give back to people.”
The Laguna Woods shooter was motivated by anti-Taiwanese bias, authorities say. The 68-year-old gunman, a Chinese immigrant from Las Vegas, killed one person and injured five at a rally of members of the Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in Irvine on Sunday. “The suspect involved is believed to have been upset with political tensions between China and Taiwan,” Sheriff Don Barnes said. John Cheng, a 52-year-old doctor, died after charging and attempting to disarm the shooter, leaving behind a wife and two children. “Cheng probably saved the lives of ‘more than dozens of people,'” the sheriff said.
114 — the number of hate-motivated shootings in the United States since 2013, according to our analysis of Gun Violence Archive data. These attacks left 218 dead and 214 injured. [Gun Violence Archive]