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Buffalo shooting suspect had plans to continue rampage, police say

Investigators: Suspected Buffalo shooter plotted attack for 2 months
Investigators: Suspected Buffalo shooter plotted attack for 2 months 03:29

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Ahead of President Joe Biden's visit, we're learning more about the victims in Saturday's upstate supermarket shooting.

They include a retired police officer, a deacon, and a community activist, CBS2's Kevin Rincon reported Monday.

The 10 victims in the horrific attack all left behind families who are now grieving what might as well be a living nightmare. But having talked to some of those families, there is also anger that something like this could happen right in their own community.

Days after the deadly shooting at Tops supermarket, the pain and hurt is still raw.

Among those lost was Ruth Whitfield. Her son is the former Buffalo fire commissioner. He says before she died, she had spent her day with his dad at a nursing home.

"She left there tired having given herself to someone else and went to the grocery store and lost her life. We're going to cry and grieve, but that's not all we're going to do because we're angry," Garnell Whitfield said.

He said there needs to be accountability for the hate spread on social media that is believed to have fueled the suspect's shooting spree.

"What do we tell our father, who is still up here in this nursing home, who does not know the love of his life, 68 years they're married, what do we tell him? Where she is? He's missing her now. A couple of days have passed. She doesn't miss a couple of days. What do we tell him?" Garnell Whitfield said.

READ MOREBuffalo shooting: Gov. Hochul calls on social media companies to monitor content more closely after attack was live-streamed

As they grieve, so does the family of Aaron Salter. The retired police officer was working as a security guard and tried to stop the gunman, shooting him once in the chest, but hitting only his body armor.

"That, I'm sure, backed him off slightly, and then we had our officers respond in less than a minute," Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said.

Gramaglia called Salter a hero, adding without him things could have been very different.

"Woke me up the other night thinking what if this guy engaged our officers when we they got there? He could have retreated back in. It definitely could have been worse," Gramaglia said.

The family of Katherine Massey said they lost a beautiful soul.

"He took my sister. He took my sister I talk to everyday," said Massey, 72. "She was, you need something and she could do it, she would do it for you."

Also killed at the supermarket was Andre Mackneil, who went there specifically for his son.

"My brother came to celebrate his son's birthday. He came to buy him cake. Now, I have no brother, he has no father. Is that fair? Feelings? I don't know what they are," Dyonne Elliott said.

Zaire Goodman, 20, is one of the three shooting victims who survived. Goodman told CBS Mornings he feels "Discomfort, sadness, maybe a bit of regret."

"I wonder why out of all the people that, the three people that were spared, I was one of them," Goodman said.

The supermarket where the shooting occurred is a vital resource to the community, which is otherwise a food desert. Mobile food pantries have been set up while the store is closed.

There is an immense amount of anger among the families of the victims and they're demanding justice, not only through the prosecution of the suspect, but through legislative changes.

This as we learned Monday from police that the suspect had intended to target other stores, not just the Tops.

"There was evidence that was uncovered that he had plans, had he gotten out of here, to continue his rampage and continue shooting people. He'd even spoken about possibly going to another store," Gramaglia said. "There's some documentation that said that if he got out of here, he was gonna get in his car and continue to drive down Jefferson Avenue and continue doing the same thing."

Despite not being able to carry out those alleged plans, plenty of people remain concerned about their safety. As a result, the city has stepped up patrols.

"Hopefully seeing a greater presence of law enforcement, right now in particular, is making people feel more comfortable," Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said.

The shooter accused of orchestrating the horrific attack also damaged the community's livelihood. Neighbors told CBS2's Elijah Westbrook the Tops supermarket is a vital source of food and the only grocery store of that size in the area.

"It has really been the most biggest thing for everybody because the next one is not for another five miles," resident Shawnequa Garrett said.

Garrett, who lives down the block from the store, said she's fortunate to be able to drive to another supermarket. But that's not the case for others who live on her street.

"People that I know came up here to get groceries had to walk all the way to Jefferson and Bass and so because of everything it's not like you can just walk right through. You have to walk all the way up, down and around," Garrett said.

As Garrett watched from her front yard in disbelief at the now temporarily closed supermarket, it also the site of a food giveaway operation involving dozens of volunteers handing out fresh produce.

"We just want to help," one person said.

In a statement, Tops Friendly Markets said, in part, "We are rapidly working to create a fund for the families of victims and those directly impacted," adding, "It is our sincere hope to partner with many local and business leaders on this endeavor."


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