On Saturday afternoon, a crazed white gunman, driven by hate and outfitted in tactical gear, opened fire in a Buffalo, New York grocery store. He shot 13 people —11 were Black, two were white, ten people died at the scene, and three others were wounded, said Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia, according to NBC News.
One of the victims, Aaron Salter Jr., was a beloved Top Friendly Markets security guard and a former Buffalo cop who resorted to his police training and engaged in gunfire with the shooter to stop the 18-year-old suspect, Payton Gendron, the Daily Beast reports.
Salter’s brave actions proved unsuccessful as he could not penetrate Gendron’s body armor, causing the teenage assailant to return gunfire, killing Salter.
“Today is a shock,” said his son Aaron Salter III to the Daily Beast.
“I’m pretty sure he saved some lives today. He’s a hero.”
Salter’s cousin, Adam Bennefield, who resides close to Buffalo, who lives nearby in Buffalo, said the family is disturbed by the mass shooting.
“I don’t think anybody could ever anticipate something like this happening,” Bennefield, 44, said to The Daily Beast. “I don’t think anybody can. Everybody’s hurt right now, everybody’s upset.”
Before his untimely death, Salter Jr. opened a dry cleaning business with his wife, who had since passed away. Carol once worked as a cashier at Tops supermarket for 15 years before being promoted as the front-end manager until she retired in 1986, according to the Daily Beast.
Salter also took up the hobby of building environmentally sustainable automobiles based on his LinkedIn, according to the New York Post.
“I’m a jack of all trades a master of none,” read his profile read at AWS Hydrogen Technologies, LLC.
“I’m always working on my vehicles [sic] and or my project of running engines on water for the last four years or so, I would like to realize my dream of getting cars to run off of water using my newly discovered energy source some day.”
He posted a YouTube video demonstrating how his 2010 Ford F-150 ran using his AWS Hydrogen Fuel System, utilizing water to operate the truck instead of gasoline.
“So we’re going to do four experiments today for the patent examiners,” he said while wearing a Police Benevolent Association long-sleeved shirt.
“What my system has done is taken advantage of the residue that’s produced by electrolysis. So we’re going to actually start this vehicle without electrolysis,” he said.
His son, Salter, III, eerily posted on Facebook in 2019 how he felt about the increasing gun violence, according to the New York Post.
“If i hear another story of someone mass shooing innocent people or like yesterday the 20 year old in Missouri who when (sic) to Walmart with and assault rifle and 100 rounds and recorded himself making comments to people shopping I’m gonna loose (sic) my mind,” he wrote.
“We can’t even do everyday s–t without having to watch our backs and that’s scary af! The sad thing is I feel like a crazy close to home is gonna do something soon and I’m not ready for that.”
Salter Jr. leaves behind three children.