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A memorial service will be held today for 10 dead in Buffalo shooting

AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:

It started as a normal busy Saturday at the Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, N.Y. People doing their weekly grocery shopping or picking up food for Sunday dinner - until around 2:30, when a white gunman dressed in tactical gear opened fire first in the parking lot and then inside the store. Ten people died. Three were wounded. Of the victims, 11 were Black. Officials say the crime was motivated by racism. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown told NPR that one of the victims was a retired police officer, Aaron Salter, who was working as a security guard in the supermarket. The mayor said Salter confronted the gunman and fired at him to protect shoppers, but the shooter was protected by his body armor and instead killed Salter. The mayor called the security guard a hero. Mayor Brown also said that another victim was the mother of the city's retired fire commissioner, Garnell Whitfield. The Buffalo News reported that Whitfield called his mother God-loving and a mother to the motherless. The news outlet also identified Katherine Massey as one of the dead. Massey's sister called her a beautiful soul. Mayor Brown said there will be a memorial service held for the victims today and that grief counselors would be provided to help families get through this difficult time. Stay tuned to NPR News and npr.org throughout the day as we learn more about the victims and for the latest updates on the investigation in Buffalo.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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