Family and friends of Buffalo shooting victim launch scholarship fund in his honor

Francis Akhalbey May 16, 2023
Aaron Salter Jr. was hailed as a hero for confronting the Buffalo gunman -- Photo via PEOPLE

Aaron Salter Jr., a retired police officer, was on duty as a security guard at Tops Friendly Markets in Buffalo when 18-year-old Payton Gendron entered the premises on May 14, 2022, and opened fire. At the time of the tragic incident, Salter reportedly dashed into the facility to alert people about the shooter.

Salter also confronted Gendron and fired at him, but the bullets did not penetrate Gendron as he was wearing an armored vest. Grendon returned fire and killed Salter. The slain security guard was among the 11 people Gendron is accused of killing.

Following the incident, officials in Buffalo said the deceased security guard’s reaction after Gendron opened fire likely saved others from being killed, Face2Face Africa reported at the time.

A year after the fatal incident, Salter’s family and friends announced they have launched a scholarship fund in the deceased Black man’s honor. Per NBC News, the fund, which is named the Lt. Aaron Salter Memorial Scholarship, will provide financial aid to 10 Buffalo-area high school seniors entering college. Each student will receive $5,000 to help pay their college expenses.

Salter’s longtime friend and former colleague, Earl Perrin Jr., set up the scholarship in the wake of his death. Perrin said his deceased friend “gave his life trying to save others.” “Because of his heroism, and because we knew what kind of person he was, we felt it would only be just to find a way to memorialize him — come up with some way to keep his legacy going,“ Perrin added.

Perrin also said the scholarship committee had initially intended to raise $1,000 for the program, but the amount was increased to $5,000 per student after they received significant donations. The donors include a local car dealership that has pledged to donate $25,000 annually over a four-year period.

Students who will benefit from the scholarship must display the qualities that Salter possessed, NBC News reported. The deceased Black man was said to be technologically savvy and involved in his community. Besides providing financial aid, the foundation also intends to give local youth mentorship opportunities as well as mental health and financial literacy services. 

Last Edited by:Editor Updated: June 11, 2023


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