© 2022 WLRN
MIAMI | SOUTH FLORIDA
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

The victims and aftermath of the Buffalo supermarket shooting

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., this Saturday has devastated yet another community.

EMILY FENG, HOST:

A gunman opened fire in a community grocery store, killing 10 people and injuring three. The suspect is an 18-year-old white man. And Buffalo's chief of police has said, quote, "this is an absolute racist hate crime."

KELLY: Of the 13 victims, 11 were Black. And before we get to the latest in the investigation, we want to spend some time hearing about them.

FENG: Andre Mackneil was 53. He went to the Tops grocery store to buy a birthday cake for his 3-year-old son.

Aaron Salter was 55. He was a store security guard and a retired police officer. He attempted to stop the shooter on Saturday.

KELLY: Roberta Drury was 32. She needed groceries for dinner and often shopped for her adoptive brother, too. He's recovering from leukemia.

Margus Morrison, age 52, collected sneakers and loved music. He was on a shopping run for snacks for his weekly movie night with his wife.

FENG: Geraldine Talley, age 62, lived in Atlanta. She was visiting family in Buffalo. And her niece remembers her as the life of the party who always put the family reunions together.

Celestine Chaney, age 65. She was a breast cancer survivor and devoted grandmother of six.

KELLY: Heyward Patterson, age 67, a church deacon who used to drive people to and from the store.

Ruth Whitfield was 86. Her son says she visited her husband daily in the nursing home where he has lived for the last eight years. And he doesn't know how to tell his dad she's gone.

FENG: Pearl Young, age 77, a veteran substitute teacher and mother of three who cooked and baked in her church's soup kitchen for a quarter century.

And Katherine Massey, age 72. She wrote frequently to local news outlets, commenting on a variety of issues and just last year had a letter published in the Buffalo News, calling for more federal legislation to curb gun violence in the city.

KELLY: NPR's Quil Lawrence is in Buffalo covering this. He's here to bring us the latest. Hey, Quil.

QUIL LAWRENCE, BYLINE: Hey, Mary Louise.

KELLY: All right. Well, let's start with the latest in the investigation. Where's it stand?

LAWRENCE: Yeah. Authorities here are just finishing up a press briefing where they said essentially not very much new information. One, that the suspect did visit Buffalo back in March as part of what seems to be a very lengthy preparation for the alleged attack. He's still in custody. He's segregated from the general population on suicide watch.

KELLY: Civil rights attorney Ben Crump was in Buffalo today with one of the families that lost their matriarch, 86-year-old Ruth Whitfield. I know you were there. Tell us about it.

LAWRENCE: Yeah. Many members of her family spoke at a press conference today. They said it was not easy for them. They're a private family. Her granddaughter, Kamilah, said that her grandmother would never judge you.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KAMILAH: Such a good listener and she would choose her words wisely before she responded and speak love into any situation that you had going on. My baby is 17-months-old, and she was building such a beautiful relationship with her. She was our downstairs neighbor. And every time we came or went, she would knock on her door for a hug or a kiss. And I just try to walk so fast in and out the house now so that she doesn't try to stop (crying). And she will be missed. We love you, Grandmommy.

KELLY: So hard to listen to their pain. And Quil, I mentioned in the intro she visited her husband every day in his nursing home, every day for eight years. I read she'd just left him when she went to the grocery store and was killed.

LAWRENCE: Yes. They'd been married for 68 years. The family said that she went - even days that she wasn't well, didn't feel like going herself, she would go and see him. And like you said, they're still just trying to figure what they're going to say to their father about the fact that his wife of 68 years is gone and how she died. Ruth Whitfield's son, Raymond, said that the family is sad but also angry.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

RAYMOND: But this time, there's no wiping away these tears. There's no walking on with life. So I say to you, what are you willing to do so that the next time it's not you standing here before your brokenhearted family?

KELLY: One of the many people that our colleague, Quil Lawrence, is hearing from and talking to there in Buffalo, as we follow the aftermath of this shooting. Quil Lawrence, thank you.

LAWRENCE: Thanks, Mary Louise. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.