Buffalo supermarket shooting: Retired officer Aaron Salter Jr. honored at funeral

GETZVILLE, N.Y. — Mourners gathered Wednesday to pay tribute to a retired police officer who was hailed as a hero for his response to a deadly mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, earlier this month.

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According to The Associated Press, Aaron Salter Jr., a 55-year-old security guard at Tops Friendly Market, was one of 10 people killed May 14 when a man dressed in military gear opened fire at the Buffalo supermarket. The suspected gunman, whom police identified as 18-year-old Peyton S. Gendron, was arrested and charged with murder, the news agency reported.

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At Wednesday’s service in Getzville, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia commended Salter, who had worked for the department for more than three decades, for confronting the shooter and firing at him multiple times, according to The Buffalo News. The gunman, however, was protected by his body armor, authorities said.

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“Aaron bravely fought evil that day,” Gramaglia said of Salter, who was awarded the department’s Medal of Honor and posthumously promoted to lieutenant at the funeral. “This fight allowed numerous customers precious seconds to run through the cash register lanes towards the back of the store while Aaron remained up front fighting. That act of bravery led to his ultimate demise.”

Buffalo police officers also launched a $2,500 scholarship named for Salter and benefiting a student at his alma mater, Hutchinson Technical High School, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported. The money will be awarded to a Hutchinson senior, according to the newspaper.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.