Eleven of the victims were Black and two were White, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Saturday.
The victims range in age from 20 to 86, police said. Among them were a former police officer who tried to stop the gunman, the octogenarian mother of the city’s former fire commissioner and a long-term substitute teacher.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced $2.8 million in funding for the victims and their families, according to a statement from her office.
“The past 24 hours have been traumatizing for New Yorkers,” Hochul said in a statement Sunday. “The entire world is watching how we will come together as New Yorkers to overcome this unthinkable tragedy. Buffalo, my hometown, is the City of Good Neighbors and New York State will be good neighbors for them.”
New York State’s Office of Victim Services (OVS) will be in Buffalo throughout the week to help administer funding and assist victims and families in obtaining financial assistance from the state, the statement read.
Investigators are also reviewing a purported manifesto posted online Saturday in connection with the shooting probe, two federal law enforcement officials told CNN. The manifesto’s author describes himself as a fascist, a White supremacist and an anti-Semite.
While authorities identified the victims, details about who they were and the lives they lived have started to emerge.
Here’s what we know about them.
The mayor identified the “hero” security guard who engaged the suspect but was fatally shot as Aaron Salter, a former Buffalo police lieutenant.
Salter was well respected throughout the police department, Brown told CNN’s “New Day Weekend,” and had worked at the supermarket for several years after retiring.
Salter “is a hero who tried to protect people in the store, tried to save lives and in the process, lost his own life,” Brown said.
The supermarket’s security guard “fired multiple shots at the suspect” when he entered the store, Gramaglia previously said, but the suspect was wearing tactical gear that protected him from the guard’s gunfire.
Brown identified one of the victims to CNN as 86-year-old Ruth Whitfield, the mother of former Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield.
Brown saw the former commissioner soon after the shooting walking on Jefferson Avenue, the road outside the supermarket, he told worshipers at the True Bethel Baptist Church on Sunday. The mayor assumed Whitfield was there to lend a hand and asked if he was there to help.
“He said, ‘Yes, mayor. But I’m here because I’m looking for my mother,'” Brown said.
Ruth Whitfield was visiting the former commissioner’s father in the nursing home, as she did each day, he told the mayor, and she stopped at the supermarket to buy some groceries.
“We’ve been calling her and she’s not answering the cell phone. And her car is still in the parking lot. And I’m afraid that she’s one of the victims of this shooting,” Brown recalled Garnell Whitfield saying.
His fears were later confirmed, Brown said.
Speaking at the same event, Hochul said, “We must do something about this.”
“I thought I was strong,” she said, “but hearing the mayor tell the story of our commissioner who’s dedicated his life to saving lives and loses his mother over an act of racism and White supremacy in this community — now I’m angry, my friends.”
Pearl Young, 77, was a substitute teacher and a “true pillar in the community,” her family said in a statement.
“Pearl was a long-term substitute teacher with the Buffalo Public School District and recently worked at Emerson School of Hospitality,” according to the statement obtained by CNN.
“If there is one consolation that we can take from this tragedy is that we know that mom is up in heaven with our dad (her Ollie) and dancing and shouting with our heavenly father,” the statement read.
Geraldine Talley, 62, was doing her regular grocery shopping with her fiancé on Saturday when she was shot and killed, her niece Lakesha Chapman told CNN.
Chapman lives in Atlanta and had just arrived in Buffalo to be with family on Sunday when she talked to CNN by telephone.
Chapman called Talley her “Auntie Gerri” and said she was an amazing woman. She said Talley was her father’s little sister.
“She’s sweet, sweet, you know, the life of the party,” Chapman said. “She was the person who always put our family reunion together, she was an avid baker … mother of two beautiful children.”
“She was just a lover,” Chapman said. “I mean she didn’t meet a stranger, and that’s why this hurts so much.”
Chapman said Talley was at the front of the store when the shooting started and her fiancé had gone to get orange juice, so he was able to escape unharmed.
Five hours went by before her family found out she had been killed, Chapman said.
“We’re outraged,” she said. “This is not, obviously, the first racially-triggered attack in America. However it is the first that hits our home.”
She said it was “the most numbing, numbing feeling ever.”
“She was shopping and this man comes out of his neighborhood to attack because of her skin color, because of her ZIP code, you know, because it was predominantly Black,” Chapman said. “She was innocent. And it’s — there’s no words to describe it.”
CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian, David Williams and Caroll Alvarado contributed to this report.Source link