Say their names: remembering the 10 victims of the Buffalo mass shooting
The victims now being laid to rest represented the best of their community in terms of their public and community service and activism
The youngest of the 10 Black people killed at a Buffalo supermarket on May 14 was laid to rest Saturday. She is the third victim to be eulogized so far since the mass shooting. Kat Massey, the fourth, had her funeral Monday.
Roberta “Robbie” Drury, 32, had reportedly been living in Buffalo for a decade after moving from Syracuse to help care for her adoptive brother, Christopher Moyer, amid his leukemia battle, NPR reports. Most recently he had a bone marrow transplant. Drury was a regular at Tops Friendly Markets grocery store and her family says she was shopping for her brother when she was killed in last Saturday’s shooting.
Drury’s funeral followed the private service that was held Friday for 67-year-old Buffalo mass shooting victim Heyward Patterson, a deacon at a church near the supermarket. The homegoing service for civil rights activist Massey, 72, was held Monday (May 23), CBS News reports. More funerals will be held this week.
The Buffalo police department has released the full list of the 13 people — ages 20 to 86 — who were allegedly shot by 18-year-old suspect Payton S. Gendron. Investigators say the deadly shooting was racially motivated.
Eleven of the victims were Black and two were white. Three suffered non-life-threatening injuries: Zaire Goodman, 20, of Buffalo, Jennifer Warrington, 50, of Tonawanda, New York, and Christopher Braden, 55, of Lackawanna, New York, CNN reports.
Say their names: Remembering the victims
Roberta Drury, 32, attended schools in the North Syracuse Central School District. As reported by CNN, she was devoted to caring for her brother and working alongside her family at their restaurant, The Dalmatia Hotel.
“She would go to Tops for us all the time, actually,” Moyer told NPR. “We don’t really have family in the area, so it was just a great help that she could do something for us like that.”
Drury’s death was acknowledged by the school district.
“The news of the shooting so close to home is devastating enough, but to learn that a member of our NorthStar family fell victim to an extremist act of hate is unfathomable,” the superintendent of North Syracuse Central School District said in a statement. “Our hearts are broken by news of the despicable act and they go out to the families of friends of Roberta and all the victims.”
Heyward Patterson, 67, was known to give rides to residents to and from the grocery store. As reported by PEOPLE, he was shot while in his truck in the parking lot of Tops supermarket.
Patterson was a member of The State Tabernacle Church of God and served as the pastor’s armor-bearer. He often volunteered at the soup kitchen, The Buffalo News reports.
“He would give the shirt off his back,” his wife, Tirzah Patterson, told the News. “That’s who he is. He wouldn’t hurt anybody. Whatever he had, he’d give it to you. You ask he’ll give it. If he don’t got it, he’ll make a way to get it or send you to the person that can give it to you. He’s going to be missed a lot.”
Katherine Massey, 72, was a civil rights activist and a member of the community group We Are Women Warriors. Before her retirement five years ago, she worked at Buffalo Blue Cross/Blue Shield for nearly 40 years. She also served on the Buffalo school board and tutored students.
According to The Buffalo News, Massey often wrote opinion pieces for both the Buffalo Challenger and The Buffalo Criterion newspapers. In May 2021, she called for federal legislation to address what she called “the escalating gun violence in Buffalo and many major U.S. cities.”
Speaking to The Buffalo News, her sister, Barbara Massey, described Katherine as “a beautiful soul.”
“She always believed in the underdog, she was a really strong woman,” her nephew Damone Mapps shared with PEOPLE. “She dedicated all her free time to helping others.”
Massey is survived by her siblings, nieces, and nephews.
Ruth Whitfield, 86, had just visited her husband in a nursing home near the Tops store when she was killed in the mass shooting.
She “was picking up a few items and never made it out of the supermarket,” Mayor Brown told NPR. According to The Buffalo News, Brown was the mother of a retired Buffalo fire commissioner and was her husband’s primary caretaker.
“From her daily sojourn to care for my father, she left the nursing home and stopped right there, a few blocks from the nursing home, at the store to grab something while on the way home. She didn’t deserve to be murdered,” her son, Garnell Whitfield Jr., 65, tells PEOPLE.
She leaves behind four kids, seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. Famed civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump is representing the family.
Pearl Young, 77, moved to New York from Alabama as a young adult and married a minister. The couple lived in Buffalo where Young ran a weekly food pantry, according to local journalist Madison Carter. She also worked as a long-term substitute teacher at Emerson School of Hospitality.
The family said in a statement to PEOPLE, “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.”
Young is reportedly survived by her three children and 10 grandchildren.
Celestine Chaney, 65, was a cancer survivor who doted on her six grandchildren and great-grandchild. The Buffalo News reports that she was a regular churchgoer who recently marked her 65th birthday days before she was killed in Saturday’s racially motivated Buffalo store shooting.
“My son, he wanted to go on a cruise for his birthday in December, and we was going to take her with us,” her son, Wayne Jones Jr., told PEOPLE. “And she didn’t even know I was going to take her with us because I was going to surprise her and buy the ticket and have her come with us.”
Margus D. Morrison
Morrison, 52, was reportedly shopping for snacks for his family’s weekly movie night when he was gunned down. His stepdaughter Sandra Demps described him as a “hero” who was an avid sneaker collector.
Morrison reportedly worked as a school bus aide for three years in the Buffalo area and was a trusted presence in the lives of the special needs children in the school district. He is survived by his wife, six children, and stepdaughter. Per WKBW, his cousin described him as “happy” and “full of energy.”
Mackneil, 53, died on his son’s birthday, according to The Citizen newspaper. He was picking up the birthday cake for his 3-year-old when he was killed.
“He never came out with the cake,” Mackneil’s cousin, Clarissa Alston-McCutcheon, told AP, describing him as “a loving and caring guy. Loved family. Was always there for his family.”
Geraldine Talley, 62, was grocery shopping with her fiancé on Saturday when she was shot and killed.
“She’s sweet, sweet, you know, the life of the party,” her niece, Lakesha Chapman, told CNN. “She was the person who always put our family reunion together, she was an avid baker … mother of two beautiful children.”
Chapman was with Talley at the store on the day of the shooting but she and the fiancé were able to escape unharmed. Five hours would pass before the family learned that Talley was among the victims.
“We’re outraged,” said Chapman.
“She was shopping and this man comes out of his neighborhood to attack because of her skin color, because of her ZIP code, you know, because it was predominantly Black,” Chapman said. “She was innocent. And it’s – there’s no words to describe it.”
The Buffalo resident is survived by her two children, Genicia Talley, 42, and Mark Talley, 32.
Aaron Salter, Jr., 55, is a former Buffalo police lieutenant who has been hailed as a hero following the shooting.
Salter worked as a security guard at Tops and he “died a hero trying to stop the shooter and protect others in the community,” Mayor Byron Brown told NPR.
His courage will long be remembered, his family said.
“That’s why he’s known as a hero,” Salter’s cousin Irvin Salter, 60, told PEOPLE. “Serving and protecting, that’s what he was there to do. And he made a difference that enabled people to get away because it altered [the shooter’s] plans.”
Salter engaged the gunman during the attack and fired several shots at him. But the suspect was wearing body armor that allowed him to return fire, killing Salter.
A father of three, Salter had been working on a fuel alternative for vehicles, according to reports.
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