First Funeral Services Begin for Buffalo Shooting Victims

First Funeral Services Begin for Buffalo Shooting Victims

The first couple of funeral services began for the 10 Black victims killed in the racist attack at the Buffalo Tops supermarket May 14.

Heyward Patterson’s family held a private ceremony on Friday at the Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church. Patterson, 67, was an esteemed deacon at the Tabernacle Church of God for over a decade, a congregation close by the Tops Friendly Market. He was known to drive those who didn’t have means of transport to the Tops market so they could buy fresh groceries.

“A lot of them don’t have cars, no buses. He’s just taking them home back and forth. He had a family, has a beautiful son, and they snatched him from them,” said Leonard Lane tearfully, a friend of Patterson. “He loved his children, any man can see. And he loved God, that’s all that he wanted to do, help people.”

A viewing was held before his burial at St. Matthew’s Cemetery, where over 1,000 people came to pay their respects. The family of the deacon asked the press not to attend.

Pallbearers carry out Deacon Heyward Patterson at Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church on May 20

“An honorable man. A family man. A working man. A community man. An honest man that was at a grocery store in a parking lot,” said a relative of Patterson to WKBW.

He is survived by his wife and three children.

Thirty-two-year-old Roberta Drury was laid to rest yesterday, the youngest of the victims. 

She worked as a secretary at a mental health and substance abuse counseling office, where she was loved by all. Her funeral service was held at Assumption Church in Syracuse.

“Last Saturday, May 14, our corner of the world was changed forever,” parochial vicar Friar Nicholas Spano said during her service. “Lives ended. Dreams shattered and our state was plunged into mourning.”

In Drury’s obituary, her family wrote that she “couldn’t walk a few steps without meeting a new friend.”

Katherine “Kat” Massey, 72, was a civil rights activist and writer for the Buffalo Challenger. In 2021, she penned an article titled, “Letter: Federal legislation must address gun issue,” where she called for the urgent need to resolve gun violence in the country. Her funeral is scheduled for Monday, May 23, at the Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church. 

Sharon Belton-Cottman, a Buffalo school board official and part of an advocacy group called We are Women Warriors, of which Massey was a member, told ABC News that she is working to rename Massey’s street after her.

Celestine Chaney, a 65-year-old breast cancer survivor and grandmother of six, is planned to have her funeral service on Tuesday, May 24, at Elim Christian Fellowship. Her older sister Joann Daniels was with her at the grocery store when the shooting began. She recalls they were already leaving the store and Chaney was right behind her when it all happened, but unfortunately did not make it out. 

“​​She told me to go ahead on, she was coming. ‘Go ‘head on, Joann; I’m coming, I’m coming.’ But she never made it. She never made it. So, my sister saved my life. She saved me,” Daniels said.

Joann Daniels holds a picture of her sister Celestine Chaney alongside Chaney’s son, Wayne Jones 

She is survived by her sisters, her son, her grandchildren, and great-grandchild.

Retired Buffalo police officer Aaron W. Salter Jr. will be laid to rest on Tuesday, May 24, at the Amigone Funeral Home. The 55-year-old beloved Top Friendly Markets security guard  was revered a hero for his attempt to stop the white supremacist shooter. Salter’s brave actions proved unsuccessful as he could not penetrate the shooter’s body armor, causing the teenage assailant to return gunfire, killing Salter.

“I’m pretty sure he saved some lives today. He’s a hero,” said his son Aaron Salter III.

He leaves behind three children.

Pearl L. Young, 77, was a long-time substitute teacher at the Buffalo Public School District and Emerson School of Hospitality. She was affectionately known as “the neighborhood mom.” For 25 years, Young ran a food pantry in the Central Park neighborhood of Buffalo.

Her funeral is scheduled for Wednesday, May 25, at the Elim Christian Fellowship.

“She loved her children, her family, and her Good-Samaritan COGIC church family. She was a true pillar in the community,” her family said in a statement.

According to her obituary, she is survived by her three children, 10 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, a host of nieces and nephews, her church family and her Sunday school students.

Fifty-two-year-old Margus D. Morrison was a school bus aide with Buffalo Public Schools and former security guard. He was out at Tops to buy chicken and salad for a weekly movie night with his family. Funeral ceremonies for Morrison are to be held Friday, May 27, at True Bethel Baptist Church. He is remembered fondly by his family as well as Buffalo school children he made an impact on.

“We’re part of a group you don’t wanna be in, but we’re forced into this group now,” said his stepdaughter Cassandra Demps. “And I promise that I’m gonna stay strong for him and carry his name with dignity and grace.”

He is “a soul that will always be missed,” she added.

Additional services will be included as they are released.

A fund has been set up for the families of those killed as well as survivors.