A "hero" retired police officer and a 77-year-old community leader are among the 10 victims being mourned by the Buffalo community two days after a gunman attacked a local supermarket.
An 18-year-old white suspect shot 13 people, 11 of whom are Black, in a racially motivated attack, police said.
Among the lives tragically lost were Ruth Whitfield, 86, who was in Tops Friendly Market after visiting her husband in a nursing home, and Pearl Young, 77, who was described by her loved ones as a woman of faith and a pillar in the community. Young ran a local food pantry for more than 20 years, according to reporter Madison Carr.
"She was just a friend to everyone she met," Young's sister, Mary Craig, said on TODAY Monday.
Aaron Salter Jr., 55, was a retired 30-year veteran of the Buffalo Police Department who was working as a security guard at the grocery store. He was shot and killed while trying to stop the gunman, who was wearing body armor, according to police.
"Thank God for our retired officer, Aaron Salter, who was a hero," Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said at a press conference Sunday.
Local driver Heyward Patterson, 67, was killed while helping a shopper load groceries in his car.
"His client was getting ready to get into the vehicle and that’s when he got hit," his wife, Tirzah Patterson, said on TODAY Monday. "People loved him. The community loved him."
She was asked what she would say to alleged gunman Payton Gendron.
"I would say if it weren’t for God, I would have a lot of malice in my heart," Henderson said. "But He teaches us to forgive. I have to forgive him. Because if I don’t, I’m killing me."
Katherine Massey, 72, was also killed in the shooting. Her nephew told NBC News she was a fixture in the community and "the greatest person you will ever meet in your life."
Other victims included Roberta Drury, 32; Celestine Chaney, 65; Geraldine Talley, 62; Andre Mackneil, 53, and Margus Morrison, 52. Mackneil was at the grocery store buying a cake for his 3-year-old son, according to his family.
Three others were wounded in the shooting, two of whom have been treated and released from the hospital, police said.
Gendron stormed the grocery store armed with multiple weapons, tactical gear and a camera on his helmet to livestream the shooting, according to police. He surrendered to authorities and has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first degree murder.
Police said he was investigated last year for making a threat at his high school and underwent a mental health evaluation before being released. Gendron also wrote a 180-page racist manifesto posted online two days before the shooting, authorities said.