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Honoring and Remembering The Life and Legacy of Aaron Salter Jr.

By February 20, 2023News

Please join us at this year’s Hero Awards Dinner where The 100 Club of Buffalo will recognize the victims and acknowledge the bravery of retired Buffalo Police Officer, Aaron Salter Jr. along with other first responders who prevented tragedy throughout our community. 

Aaron Salter Jr. was a Buffalo police officer for nearly 30 years. After retiring, he worked as a security guard at Tops Friendly Market on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo, New York. Salter was on duty on May 14th, a day that forever changed the lives of people across Buffalo, and across the nation. 

When a gunman approached the grocery store, Salter quickly ran into Tops to warn customers to flee to the back of the store. He remained in front to protect them. Salter confronted the gunman and fired multiple shots at him. However, the shots failed to penetrate the gunman’s armored vest. The gunman returned fire, killing Salter. 

Thirteen people were shot in the attack at Tops Friendly Market, located in a predominately African American neighborhood in the city of Buffalo. Three people were killed in the parking lot and seven more were fatally shot inside the store. 

If Aaron Salter Jr. had not been on duty and there to warn customers of the threat, many other innocent lives could have been lost. Salter will forever be remembered as a hero.

Family Background 

Born to Aaron and Carol Salter, Sr. at Children’s Hospital in Buffalo on September 22, 1966. 

Salter leaves behind a wife and three children. He was a beloved husband of 33 years to Kimberly (nee Davis) Salter; devoted father of Latisha (William) Salter, Aaron W. Salter III and Tanya Salter. He was a dear brother of Cashell (late Arriet) Durham; cherished uncle of Carol, AJ, and Ashley; adoring great-uncle to Camillah, Trey, Malaya, Kasey and Kerri. 

School and Work Achievements 

Salter attended School 78 from kindergarten to eighth grade, and graduated from Hutchinson Technical High School in 1984. After graduating from Hutch Tech, he attended Canisius College. As a sophomore at Canisius, he took his police exam and found out he was accepted in 1989. Aaron started what would be a three- decade career as a police officer in March of 1989. 

Aaron’s Interests 

Salter was known as a jack of all trades. He was a family man, and enjoyed recording special and memorable family moments. He had a passion for music, home renovation, and playing chess. He was also a man who held strong religious values. In his younger years, Aaron played drums and bass guitar at church. 

In 2007-2013, Aaron was a substitute teacher for Buffalo Public Schools. He cared for the students and when they struggled to do their work, he engaged them in a game of chess to help them learn critical thinking. Other hobbies Aaron enjoyed participating in was traveling, and watching his favorite sports teams: The Buffalo Bills, Notre Dame, and The Boston Celtics. He was known by many as a very intelligent man. Aaron even appeared on Shark Tank to present his patented project. 

Officials Describe Salter as a Beloved Police Officer 

First Deputy Commissioner for Buffalo Police, Barbara Lark, worked with Aaron for years. She describes Aaron as, “Just a good person. Good natured, good hearted individual. Plain, simple, down to earth.” 

“He encourages and gives hope to our officers on the job,” she said. “It just exemplifies what this job is about and unfortunately he did have to pay the ultimate sacrifice…his life.” 

Throughout his career as a police officer for the Buffalo Police Department, Aaron Salter Jr. achieved great things. In 1992, Salter and his partner put out a kitchen fire and caught the arsonist as he attempted to escape. In 1996, Salter faced a life-threatening incident when he and his partner responded to a burglary in progress. The two officers were confronted by a 25-year-old man, who approached them from behind and pointed a loaded, 12-gauge shotgun at them. 

“My first reaction was to duck,” said Salter. “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’s partner shot at the assailant but missed. The man eventually surrendered to a SWAT team. 

Throughout his lifetime and career as a police officer and security guard, Aaron Salter Jr. never shied away from risking his life to protect others. Salter stepped up countless times to put a stop to crime, danger, and violence. We are deeply saddened that his life was lost in a horrible act of hatred fueled by racism on May 14, 2022. 

The 100 Club of Buffalo will be honoring Aaron Salter Jr. as a hero at our 64th Hero Awards Dinner. The event is scheduled for Friday, April 21st, 2023 at Samuel’s Grande Manor. Tickets for the event can be purchased online at the 100 Club of Buffalo website awards-dinner/. For information on sponsorships and table purchases, please contact John Cleary, at 716.435-6810 or 

Sources: security-guard-tops-funeral-remembered-hero/9930053002/—community-remembers- aaron-salter-jr- killed-by-gunman/QXSFYO7YKFCDJJME3V5ACK2UJA/