A retired cop, turned security guard, heroically tried to stop a grocery store massacre by shooting the gunman, police said.
Aaron Salter, 55, reportedly retired from the Buffalo, New York police department five years ago after completing 30 years of service. Salter was described by shoppers of Topps Friendly Market, in East Buffalo, as the supermarket’s friendly security guard, according to a “People” report.
A gunman, whom police allege was 18-year-old Payton S. Gendron, fatally shot three people in the parking lot outside the store where Salter stood security. When the shooter entered the supermarket, Salter reportedly fired at him, hitting him with several rounds from his handgun. The shooter, however, reportedly wore tactical gear and armor plating that deflected the rounds fired by the retired cop. The shooter reportedly returned fire, killing the security guard before advancing deeper into the store in search of more victims.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Salter is “a hero in our eyes,” WIVB-TV in Buffalo reported.
The president of the city’s police benevolent association reportedly knew Salter and described him as a great guy who was well-liked and respected, according to the Buffalo affiliate for CBS.
“This is just horrific,” Buffalo PBA President John Evans said. “It’s tragic. I don’t know what other words to describe it.”
Mayor Byron Brown said the shootings occurred on what was an otherwise beautiful, warm day in Buffalo. “The security guard that was killed did shoot and hit the suspect but it did not penetrate the body armor,” Mayor Brown said Sunday in an interview aired by NPR. “Former Buffalo Police Lieutenant Aaron Salter died a hero trying to stop the shooter and protect others in the community.”
“Today is a shock,” the retired officer’s son, Aaron Salter III, reportedly said. “I’m pretty sure he saved some lives today.”
“He’s a hero.”
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