A balloon honors retired Buffalo, N.Y., police officer Aaron Salter on May 15 near the site of a mass shooting at a supermarket. Salter was working at the supermarket as a security guard and was killed as he confronted the gunman. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo
May 25 (UPI) -- A retired Buffalo, N.Y., police officer was laid to rest Wednesday after he was killed during a mass shooting at a grocery store earlier this month.
The funeral for Aaron Salter was held in the hamlet of Getzville, N.Y., and attended by hundreds.
Salter was one of 10 people killed in the mass shooting at a Tops supermarket May 14 in Buffalo. Of the total 13 people shot, 11 were Black in what Buffalo police Chief Joseph Gramaglia called an "absolute racist hate crime."
Born and raised in Buffalo, Salter spent 32 years with the Buffalo Police Department, retiring four years ago.
He was posthumously promoted to the rank of lieutenant and awarded the department's Medal of Honor, its highest commendation.
Salter was given full police honors, including a 21-gun salute.
"We are going to see him off for his family with every honor this police department and the city can give him," Gramaglia said at the funeral.
Salter was working as a security guard at the grocery store when the shooting happened. He confronted accused shooter Payton Gendron, firing and hitting him multiple times but was unable to subdue him. He was then shot by the gunman, who was using a semi-automatic rifle.
"Aaron was in a complete defensive position, but was able to make it back in the store to warn others and find a position of cover where he was able to take action," Gramaglia told the hundreds of people gathered for the funeral.
"Aaron bravely fought evil that day. This fight allowed numerous customers precious seconds to run through the cash register lanes towards the back of the store while Aaron remained up front fighting. That act of bravery led to his ultimate demise."
Gendron has been charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder in the attack.
Salter's funeral was the sixth so far of the 10 people who were killed in the mass shooting.
A group prays in the street on Sunday near the site of the mass shooting on Saturday at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo