The ex-cop supermarket security guard that died exchanging gunfire with the Buffalo supermarket shooter on Saturday died a “hero,” his son said.
Aaron Salter Jr. was identified by his son as the beloved Tops Friendly Markets security guard and former Buffalo cop who tried to stop the teenage suspect, according to the Daily Beast.
“Today is a shock,” his son Aaron Salter III told the news site.
“I’m pretty sure he saved some lives today. He’s a hero.”
Salter Jr. drew his gun and fired at Payton Gendron, but his bullet could not pierce the 18-year-old’s armored tactical gear, officials said.
Gendron then fatally shot the guard before he continued his hate-fueled rampage in the grocery store, which serves the predominantly black neighborhoods of Masten Park and Kingsley, according to Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia.
He was eventually confronted by Buffalo cops and taken into custody. Gendron later pleaded not guilty to killing 10 people and injuring three. Investigators claim he was fueled by hatred of people of color. Eleven of his victims were black.
Before the deadly rampage Salter Jr. had spent the last four years working at the supermarket after a three-decade career in the Buffalo Police Department, his son told the Daily Beast.
Salter Jr. left behind three children and reportedly joined the police department right out of high school.
His mother Carol worked as a cashier at a Buffalo Tops supermarket for 15 years before becoming a front-end manager until her 1986 retirement, the outlet reported.
She and her husband Aaron Salter, Sr., who have both since passed away, then opened up a dry cleaning business, according to the article.
In 1996 Salter Jr. survived an encounter with a suspect who pointed a shotgun at him during a burglary call, according to The Buffalo News.
“My first reaction was to duck,” Salter Jr. said. “I don’t enjoy looking down the barrel of a shotgun, and if it hadn’t been for my partner shooting first, it would have been a golden opportunity to shoot us. My partner probably saved us.”
Salter Jr.’s latest passion was building environmentally sustainable vehicles, according to his LinkedIn profile.
“I’m a jack of all trades a master of none,” his profile for his position at AWS Hydrogen Technologies, LLC modestly read.
“I’m always working on my vehicles [sic] and or my project of running engines on water for the last four years or so, I would like to realize my dream of getting cars to run off of water using my newly discovered energy source some day.
Salter Jr. demonstrated how his 2010 Ford F-150 run using his AWS Hydrogen Fuel System in a video posted on YouTube.
The system used water to run the truck after it was started with gasoline, he explained.
“So we’re going to do four experiments today for the patent examiners,” he said while clad in a Police Benevolent Association shirt.
“What my system has done is taken advantage of the residue that’s produced by electrolysis. So we’re going to actually start this vehicle without electrolysis,” he said.
His son, Salter, III, had taken to Facebook in 2019 to speak out against an attack similar to the one that claimed his father’s life, the outlet noted.
“If i hear another story of someone mass shooing innocent people or like yesterday the 20 year old in Missouri who when (sic) to Walmart with and assault rifle and 100 rounds and recorded himself making comments to people shopping I’m gonna loose (sic) my mind,” he wrote.
“We can’t even do everyday s–t without having to watch our backs and that’s scary af! The sad thing is I feel like a crazy close to home is gonna do something soon and I’m not ready for that.”