A woman who headed a food pantry and mother of the former Buffalo fire department head were among the ten killed in Saturday’s mass shooting allegedly committed by a white supremacist teenager who live-streamed his rampage.
Pearly Young, 77, who for 25 years fed needy Buffalonians in the city’s Central Park neighborhood, was shot dead during the massacre, reporter Madison Carter tweeted.
“She loved singing, dancing, & being with family,” Carter, a Buffalo native, added. “She was [a] mother, grandma, & missionary. Gone too soon.”
“YOU DID NOT DESERVE THIS!!!!” mourned Jimmie Smith on Facebook with a broken heart emoji and a picture of Young.
“You were so sweet and beautiful on the inside and out!”
Ruth Whitfield, 86, the mother of former Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield, also died in the shooting, the Buffalo News reported. The mother of four was shopping at the store when she was gunned down by Payton Gendron, according to the report.
“I’m right across from Tops,” the younger Whitfield told the outlet. “I never dreamed I’d ever be having a phone call like this.
“My mom was the consummate mom. My mother was a mother to the motherless,” said the grief-stricken ex-fire chief. “She was a blessing to all of us. She loved God and taught us to do the same thing.”
Katherine Massey, a woman who went to the grocery store to buy groceries, was also killed, according to the Buffalo News.
Barbara Massey, Katherine Massey’s sister, told the newspaper via text message, “She was a beautiful soul.”
Massey’s age and occupation are unclear.
Along with the pair of elderly victims and Massey, supermarket security guard Aaron Salter Jr., a 55-year-old former Buffalo cop, was shot dead exchanging gunfire with the shooter.
“Today is a shock,” his son Aaron Salter III told the Daily Beast. “I’m pretty sure he saved some lives today. He’s a hero.”
On Saturday afternoon, Gendron — an 18-year-old who posted a white supremacist manifesto online — allegedly fatally shot ten and wounded three others at a Tops Friendly Market. He drove from “hours away” from his home in predominantly white Conklin, New York to the supermarket in a mostly black neighborhood, officials said.
Eleven of the victims were black while two were white.
Gendron — who was “heavily armed” and wrote N-word painted on the barrel of one of his three weapons — once threatened to shoot his high school classmates.
More coverage on the Buffalo supermarket shooting
President Biden called Saturday’s attack “an act of domestic terrorism,” while the Department of Justice announced it is investigating the mass shooting as a hate crime.