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Mourning the 10 people killed in Buffalo mass shooting

Ruth Whitfield, 86, was shot and killed in what police say was a racially-motivated mass shooting in Buffalo on Saturday, May 14, 2022 (Photo: Whitfield Family).
Ruth Whitfield, 86, was shot and killed in what police say was a racially-motivated mass shooting in Buffalo on Saturday, May 14, 2022 (Photo: Whitfield Family).
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It was just another Saturday.

Like many, the ten people who lost their lives in Buffalo, N.Y. over the weekend were simply running an errand at the grocery store.

Instead, loved ones are left mourning as investigators comb through the evidence of what they describe as a racially motivated killing.

President Joe Biden honored each victim during a visit to Buffalo and Tuesday, mentioning each one by name, and offering anecdotes about each person.

These are the people whose lives will never be forgotten by the community and nation:

Roberta A. Drury, 32, of Buffalo

A graduate of North Syracuse Schools, Drury’s sister Amanda said family and friends who were close with her called her Robbie, a nickname she got as a kid.

Drury was in Buffalo to help her brother as he battled Leukemia.

Amanda told CNY Central her sister Robbie was the first to greet people in a group and was never afraid to talk to people, making friends with everyone.

“Her death is such a loss because her vibrancy set a tone, and gatherings with her were always boisterous and loving,” said Amanda.

“I’ll always remember her in Wildwood on family vacations,” said Amanda. “Always getting everyone in the water, splashing around, she made sure family gatherings were about truly spending quality time together.”

Margus D. Morrison, 52, of Buffalo

Morrison was a bus aide for the Buffalo Public School District. He and a fellow district employee were both killed in the mass shooting.

Aundrea Sanders, the Director of Crisis Prevention and Intervention Supports for Buffalo Schools, said, “There’s several stages with grief and so even with a situation of this magnitude you go through the stages of grief. A student can be at any stage so we’re just having those conversations to find out what the students’ needs are, the class needs, and the needs of the school as a whole.”

The district is providing resources for students and staff mourning the loss and has resources available to those who need it.

Morrrison’s stepdaughter told CNN he was beloved by the family and known for his kind and humorous personality.

Andre Mackniel, 53, of Auburn, New York

Mackniel was at the store buying a birthday cake for his young son.

He was engaged to be married. His family told CNY Central Mackniel’s fiancé and her family said they were not ready to publicly talk about his death yet, but neighbors described Mackniel as a wonderful person.

“He was a nice guy, said Sam Giangreco, “Every time he went by, he always spoke to me. He always took care of his property up here and Tracey (Andre’s fiancé) was always walking up and down the street.”

When President Biden mentioned Mackniel, he was overcome with emotion.

"Went to buy his 3-year-old son birthday cake," the president said as he paused, becoming choked up. "A son celebrating a birthday saying, 'Where’s daddy?'

Aaron Salter, 55, of Lockport, New York

A retired Buffalo Police Officer, Aaron Salter heroically tried to stop the gunman at the Tops. He was an armed security guard at the store. Salter tried firing at the suspect, but the gunman's body armor protected him.

"He gave his life to save others," President Biden said.

“He’s a true hero,” Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said Sunday during a news conference.

Salter was a beloved husband and father, President Biden said.

Geraldine Talley, 62, of Buffalo

"A friend to everybody," Geraldine Talley was an expert banker known for her warm personality.

Her niece told CNN “She was just a lover. I mean she didn’t meet a stranger, and that’s why this hurts so much."

Talley is remembered as being the life of the party and an amazing woman.

Celestine Chaney, 65, of Buffalo

Celestine Chaney survived brain cancer and was at the Tops in Buffalo buying strawberries to make her favorite shortcake, President Biden said Tuesday.

She was a loving mother and grandmother where there was "never a dull moment," according to her family who spoke to CNN.

Heyward Patterson, 67, of Buffalo

Patterson was a deacon at State Tabernacle Church of God in Christ, according to reporting by the Associated Press.

The news agency reports he was volunteering at the soup kitchen and was helping others who didn’t have a ride to the local grocery store.

He was loading groceries into the trunk of his car for someone when he was targeted, according to the Associated Press.

The church’s pastor told the news agency that Patterson always encouraged others, “to be the best that they could be.”

Katherine Massey, 72, of Buffalo

Massey was described by her friend Eva Doyle to CNN as an activist who wrote about issues that impacted her community.

Doyle told CNN she last saw her friend during a demonstration against illegal guns.

Other friends told CNN about the advocacy work Massey provided to the community, working to make it a better place.

Pearl Young, 77, of Buffalo

Ms. Pearl Young worked as a substitute teacher at the school district, where leaders said attendance was lower than usual, but students who are absent due to grieving will be excused.

In a statement provided by Young’s family to CNN, they described her as a “true pillar in the community,” teaching at Emerson School of Hospitality.

The statement given to CNN continued, “If there is one consolation that we can take from this tragedy is that we know that mom is up in heaven with our dad (her Ollie) and dancing and shouting with our heavenly father”

Ruth Whitfield, 86, of Buffalo

86-year-old Ruth Whitfield traveled to the grocery store top pick up food after visiting her husband at the nursing home.

One of her sons, Garnell Whitfield Jr., a former fire commissioner for Buffalo, spoke about his mother's unconditional love, and the family's struggle with their emotions.

"We’re not just hurting we’re angry, we’re mad, this shouldn’t have happened," he said.

"We do our best to be good citizens, to be good people. We believe in God. We trust him. We treat people with decency, we love even our enemies. And you expect us to keep doing this over and over again. Over and over again. Forgive and forget. While the people we elect and trust in offices around this country do their best not to protect us, not to consider us equal, not to love us back. What are we supposed to do with all of this anger, with all of this pain?"

Whitfeld’s family joined attorney Benjamin Crump in a press conference to express their sorrow, and call for change.

"I want it to be clear that what happened on Saturday was an act of domestic terrorism and we have to define it as such," Crump said.

“Just like America responds to terrorism, America needs to respond to this act of bigotry, racism, and hate as a terrorist act."

"For those people who do not see us, how dare you not see us as American," Raymond Whitfield said. "We stand here on the blood, sweat, and tears of our ancestors and she taught us to be proud of that fact."

Three people survived their injuries during the attack: 20-year-old Zaire Goodman, 50-year-old Jennifer Warrington and 55-year-old Christopher Braden.

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Information from the Associated Press and CNN Newsource contributed to this report.

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