New York mass shooting victims include food bank worker and former police officer

Many gathered near the scene of the massacre to mourn, pray and sing for their lost loved ones as they attempted to process the racially-driven motives of the killer, reports ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore

Police have released the names of the ten victims killed in a "racially motivated" mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York State, on Saturday night.

The 18-year-old gunman, who opened fire at the Tops Friendly Market, arrived in the black neighbourhood having researched local demographics and with the "express purpose" of killing as many black people as possible, according to officials.

Eleven out of the 13 people killed or injured were black.

Among the victims, who were aged between 32 and 86, were a woman who helped to feed the needy, a former police officer and a man who helped to drive shoppers to and from the supermarket.

A further three people were injured.

Ben Crump, the attorney to one of the victim's family, has described the shooter as a "sick, depraved monster" who needs to be held accountable for his hateful act of "domestic terrorism".

The attorney said the killer targeted a supermarket in a predominately African-American community in Buffalo to murder as many Black people as he could.

He is representing the family of Ruth Whitfield, 86, who was killed as she reportedly stopped at Tops on her way home following a visit to her husband in a nursing home.

In an emotional press conference surrounded by her relatives on Monday, Mr Crump said there was no doubt the shooting was carried out by a "young, white supremacist" who had clear intentions, as evidenced in his manifesto.

'We intend to hold accountable this sick, depraved monster for his hateful act'

"What happened on Saturday was an act of domestic terrorism and we have to define it as such," he told reporters.

"We can't sugar-coat, we can't try and explain it away, talking about mental illness." "Just like America responds to terrorism, America needs to respond to this act of bigotry, racism and hate as a terrorist act," the attorney, who is urging for a firm response from Joe Biden, along with Congress and senior US lawmakers, said.

He warned that future violent acts against black people would likely happen unless the "root of the hate" was addressed. Mr Crump added that those who ferment hate online and through other channels, such as cable news stations, also need to be held accountable for their role in radicalising "young, impressionable minds". The names of the ten people who died were:

Aaron Salter

Aaron Salter, 55, was a security guard and beloved member of the community who knew the shoppers at Tops by name.

When the gunman, Payton Gendron, began shooting, Mr Salter, a retired police officer, fired at him multiple times, striking the armour-plated vest he was wearing but the bullet didn't pierce and Mr Salter was shot and killed.

He was described as "a true hero," by Buffalo Police commissioner Joseph Gramaglia. “There could have been more victims if not for his actions," he said on Sunday.

Aaron Salter was a 55-year-old security guard and retired police officer.

Andre Mackneil

Andre Mackneil was buying a surprise birthday cake for his grandson when he was shot and killed by Gendron on Saturday.

The 53-year-old from Auburn, New York, was in town visiting his relatives.

“He never came out with the cake,” Clarissa Alston-McCutcheon said of her cousin.

She described him as: "just a loving and caring guy. Loved family. Was always there for his family."

Heyward Patterson

Heyward Patterson was a church deacon who was known for driving people to and from the Tops store and helping them with their shopping.

He was helping someone to put their bags in their car when he was killed, according to Pastor Russell Bell of State Tabernacle Church of God in Christ.

"Our hearts are broken,” Pastor Bell said. “Deacon Patterson was a man who loved people. He loved the community just as much as he loved the church,” he said.

Heyward Patterson was helping someone to put their bags in their car when he was killed.

Pearl Young

Pearl Young, 77, ran a food bank in Buffalo for 25 years, helping to feed the needy, television station WGRZ reported.

She was a grandmother and missionary who loved singing, dancing and being with family, according to WGRZ.

Pearl Young ran a food bank in Buffalo for more than two decades.

Ruth Whitfield

The 86-year-old mother of retired Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield, Ruth Whitfield had just visited her husband at his care home, as she did every day, when she stopped to do her shopping and was killed, her son told The Buffalo News.

Mrs Whitfield was “a mother to the motherless” and “a blessing to all of us,” her son said. He attributed her strength and commitment to family to a strong religious faith.

Ruth Whitfield is the mother of retired Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield.

Roberta Drury

The youngest of Gendron's victims at 32, Roberta Drury had recently returned home to Buffalo to be with her older brother after his bone marrow transplant, her sister, Amanda Drury, said.

Ms Drury's mother, Dezzelynn McDuffie, told The Buffalo News her daughter had walked to Tops to pick up some shopping on Saturday afternoon.

Soon after, Ms McDuffie saw horrifying videos circulating on social media that appeared to show the gunman shooting her daughter just outside the store.

Roberta Drury had recently returned home to Buffalo to be with her older brother.

Katherine Massey

"A beautiful soul," was how Katherine Massey's sister, Barbara Massey, described the 72-year-old, who was an advocate for the black community in Buffalo, according to The Buffalo News.

Last year, Ms Massey wrote a letter to the paper arguing for more federal action and legislation to address gun violence.

Katherine Massey was said to be a strong advocate for the black community in Buffalo.

Celestine Chaney

Celestine Chaney, 65, went to Tops to buy strawberries to make shortcakes, her son, Wayne Jones, told the New York Times.

She was visiting her sister, Mr Jones said.

Celestine Chaney reportedly went to Tops to buy strawberries to make shortcakes when the shooting occurred.

Geraldine Talley

Geraldine Talley, 62, was doing her regular food shop with her fiancé on Saturday when she was shot and killed, her niece Lakesha Chapman told CNN.

Ms Chapman called Ms Talley, who was a mother-two, her "Auntie Gerri" and said she was an amazing woman.

She added her aunt was at the front of the shop when the shooting started and her fiancé had gone to get orange juice, so he was able to escape unharmed.

A person holds a rose as a group prays outside of the scene of the shooting in Buffalo. Credit: AP

Five hours went by before her family found out she had been killed, Ms Chapman added.

"We're outraged," she said. "This is not, obviously, the first racially-triggered attack in America. However it is the first that hits our home."

She said it was "the most numbing, numbing feeling ever."

Margus Morrison

Margus Morrison, 52, was out buying snacks at Tops for a weekly movie night he had planned with his wife, his stepdaughter Sandra Demps told CNN.

Ms Demps described her stepfather as a "hero" to the family, who helped to provide for her mother, who is disabled.

Father of three Mr Morrison will be remembered for his love, kindness and humour, Ms Demps said.

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