Shoppers running routine errands and four grocery store employees, including a security guard, were among those shot in Buffalo, New York, as more information about victims of the attack emerged Sunday from officials and relatives.
Much about the 10 people who were fatally shot was still unknown. But the victims, whom police did not immediately name, included:
Ruth Whitfield, 88: Whitfield was a devoted parishioner at Durham Memorial AME Zion Church for 50 years, where she sang in the choir, her daughter-in-law Cassietta Whitfield said. Ruth Whitfield had lived in Buffalo for more than five decades, raising four children. In recent years, she had taken on caring for her husband, who was in a nursing home. Whitfield has eight grandchildren. “She was a religious woman who cared deeply for her family,” Cassietta Whitfield said.
Roberta Drury, 32: Drury was on her way to the Tops supermarket to get groceries to make dinner, according to her sister, Amanda Drury. “She was very vibrant,” Drury said. “She always was the center of attention and made the whole room smile and laugh.”
Aaron Salter Jr., 55: Salter was a retired officer with the Buffalo Police Department and worked as a security guard at the Tops grocery store where the attack happened since leaving the force. Described as a “hero” by the Buffalo Police Department’s commissioner, Salter confronted the gunman and exchanged fire with him when he entered the supermarket Saturday afternoon. Salter struck the suspect, but the man was wearing a bulletproof vest, which stopped the bullet.
“He was on the police force for 30 years, and nothing like this ever happened,” said his son, Aaron Salter III. “He was just doing a security job, and that guy had to come in there and take all these innocent lives for no reason.”
Celestine Chaney, 65: Chaney was killed during the shooting, her son, Wayne Jones, 48, said. Chaney was visiting her sister, and the two went to the supermarket because Chaney wanted to get strawberries to make shortcakes, which she loved, Jones said. “It’s kind of crazy that she was there shopping, because we go shopping together,” he said.
During the shooting, Chaney’s sister made it into the freezer, Jones said, “but my mom cannot really walk like she used to. She basically can’t run.”
Chaney was a single mother and worked at a suit manufacturer and then made baseball caps before retiring. Jones was her only child, and she had six grandchildren.
Heyward Patterson: Patterson would travel to the supermarket daily, giving people rides for less money than they’d spend on a taxi or a ride-sharing service, said his grandniece Teniqua Clark. “That’s how he made his livelihood,” she said.
He was helping another person load groceries into the trunk of the car when he was killed, she said. “He didn’t even have a chance to run,” she said. “He didn’t have a chance at all.”
Patterson, who had lived in the Buffalo area his whole life and was in his late 50s or early 60s, was a kind person who was “family oriented” and loved singing in church, Clark said.
“For this to happen to him, especially it being a racially profiled hate crime, I never thought it would be him,” she said. “He is very harmless.”
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.