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The security guard who confronted the Buffalo grocery store shooter is being hailed a hero by his family and the city’s top law enforcement officer, Daily Beast reports.
Aaron Salter Jr., 55, has been identified as the security guard who tried to stop a shooter gunning down innocent shoppers at Tops Friendly Markets in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday.
Salter Jr., a retired police officer, fired his gun at the attacker, Payton Gendron, but the 18-year-old was wearing tactical gear that prevented the bullet from stopping him, as CrimeOnline previously reported.
Salter’s son, Aaron Salter III, told the news outlet that his father confronted evil head-on.
“Today is a shock,” Salter III told the Daily Beast. “I’m pretty sure he saved some lives today. He’s a hero.”
Gendron shot and killed Salter Jr. and nine others at the grocery store, which serves a predominantly Black community. Three people were also injured. In total, 11 of the victims were Black.
Authorities allege that the massacre was racially motivated. Gendron reportedly posted a hate-filled manifesto before the attack and live-streamed the massacre online.
The FBI is investigating the attack as violent extremism and a potential hate crime, according to ABC News.
Salter III told the Daily Beast that his father had worked at the supermarket for four years after serving three decades with the Buffalo Police Department.
Salter Jr.’s mother, Carol, was a cashier at the grocery store for 15 years before she was promoted to front-end manager, a position she held until retiring in 1996.
This was not Salter Jr.’s first time encountering danger. In 1996, a suspect pointed a shotgun at him amid a burglary, The Buffalo News reports.
“My first reaction was to duck,” Salter Jr. had told the newspaper. “I don’t enjoy looking down the barrel of a shotgun, and if it hadn’t been for my partner shooting first, it would have been a golden opportunity to shoot us. My partner probably saved us.”
Aside from working at the grocery store, Salter Jr. was passionate about environmental sustainability. YouTube videos showed him explaining how he built vehicles with engines that used water as an energy source.
“I’m a jack of all trades a master of none,” his LinkedIn profile reads.
On Sunday, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told ABC News that Salter ran toward the gunfire and “went down fighting.”
“He’s a true hero. We don’t know what he prevented. There could have been more victims if not for his actions,” Gramaglia told ABC News. “He was a beloved member and we’re sure he saved lives yesterday.”
Salter Jr. leaves behind three children.
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[Featured image: A police officer walks near the scene of a shooting at a supermarket, in Buffalo, N.Y., Sunday, May 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)]