What To Know Today
NEW from THE TRACE: The Buffalo shooting suspect once threatened a mass shooting. Why wasn’t he disarmed? Last year, the 18-year-old white supremacist who murdered 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket on May 14 was taken into police custody and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation after threatening a school shooting. He was released a couple of days later. Though New York is one of 19 states with a red flag law, no family or household member, no school official, nor a local police officer reported him to the authorities that could have flagged his possession of a gun. The Trace’s Jennifer Mascia sent detailed questions to the New York State Police — who confirmed they did not seek an emergency risk protection order — and examined the ins and outs of the law here.
The shooter also allegedly wanted to prolong the attack and had done extensive reconnaissance. Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia told CNN that the suspect talked about potentially going to “another large superstore” after the Tops supermarket where he committed the attack. That was based in part on the shooter’s alleged online digital diary that reveals a painstaking planning and preparation process, including a 589-page document posted in April on a Discord server linked to the shooter’s name. It revealed that the perpetrator had scoped out the shooting location, monitored movements by armed guards at the store, and had been confronted by the guard he would later fatally shoot, who wanted to know why he frequently came to the store.
All of the Buffalo victims’ names have now been released. The 10 dead ranged from 32 to 86, while the injured are 20, 50, and 55. This is who they were and some of the details of their lives:
- Aaron Salter Jr., 55, a retired Buffalo police officer working as a store security guard who exchanged fire with and slowed the shooter. “He’s a true hero, and we don’t know what he prevented,” said the Buffalo police commissioner.
- Roberta A. Drury, 32, was getting supplies for dinner, her sister said: “She was very vibrant. She always was the center of attention and made the whole room smile and laugh.”
- Ruth Whitfield, 86, had eight grandchildren and was a singer in her church choir. “She was a religious woman who cared deeply for her family,” her daughter-in-law said.
- Celestine Chaney, 65, went to the store with her sister because she wanted to buy the ingredients to make strawberry shortcake. She was the retired mother of one son and had six grandchildren.
- Heyward Patterson, 67, helped customers with their groceries and gave people rides as a job, said his great niece. He had three children and was helping someone load groceries when he was killed.
- Katherine Massey, 72, was a beloved resident and advocate who had previously written about her support for gun reform, including in a letter to The Buffalo News last May where she called for new federal laws. “She was the most wonderful person in the world. She’d cut grass in the local park, do the trees, give kids on the street toys,” her sister said.
- Andre Mackneil, 53, was picking up cake for his 3-year-old son, according to his fiancé, Tracey Maciulewicz,. “He was a loving father. He was so genuine and so sweet and so kind — like no kind of person I’ve ever met before.”
- Margus D. Morrison, 52, a husband, father of three, and beloved school bus aide. “It hurts me so much right now because I wasn’t expecting to lose him,” said a brother, with another one saying: “He was a joy to be around.”
- Geraldine Talley, 62, and a mother of two, was remembered as a kind person and great cook by family and friends. A “beautiful soul,” said one acquaintance. “She loved her family and those that weren’t family, she treated us like one of her own.”
- Pearl Young, 77, was a regular churchgoer and weekly volunteer at a food pantry organized by her church, her son said. “My mom just felt that she needed to give back to people.”
Laguna Woods shooter was motivated by anti-Taiwanese prejudice, authorities say. The 68-year old gunman, a Chinese immigrant from Las Vegas, killed one person and injured five at a member gathering of the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church on Sunday. “It is believed the suspect involved was upset about political tensions between China and Taiwan,” Sheriff Don Barnes said. John Cheng, a 52-year-old physician, died after charging and attempting to disarm the shooter, and leaves behind a wife and two children. “Cheng probably saved the lives “of upwards of dozens of people,” the sheriff said.
114 — the number of hate-motivated shootings in the U.S. since 2013, according to our analysis of Gun Violence Archive data. Those attacks left 218 people dead and 214 injured. [Gun Violence Archive]