Who was Ruth Whitfield? Payton Gendron victim, 86, devoted her life to her family

Payton Gendron opened fire inside a Buffalo supermarket on May 14, killing at least ten people


                            Who was Ruth Whitfield? Payton Gendron victim, 86, devoted her life to her family
Ruth Whitfield (L), who was killed in the Tops Markets mass shooting, pictured with her husband Garnell Whitfield Sr (Credit/Ruth Whitfield's family)
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BUFFALO, NEW YORK: One of the ten victims of Payton Gendron's Buffalo supermarket shooting on Saturday, May 14, was an 86-year-old African-American grandmother who was on her weekend food shopping. Ruth Whitfield was the mother of four children, including former Buffalo fire commissioner Garnell W Whitfield. 

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Ruth Whitfield was shot by Gendron who had driven several hours to execute a racially motivated slaughter, according to investigators. “I’m right across from Tops,” her son informed a Buffalo News reporter in a phone conversation at about 9 p.m as the family waited for more information. “I never dreamed I’d ever be having a phone call like this.” Whitfield wanted others to know what kind of a person his mother was. “My mom was the consummate mom. My mother was a mother to the motherless. She was a blessing to all of us. She loved God and taught us to do the same thing,” he said. He also said his 88-year-old father, who lives in a Buffalo nursing facility, had worked day and night in several jobs to allow his wife to stay at home and care for their children.

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He further informed the media outlet, “She’d take my brother and me to football practice, twice a day sometimes, and she never missed a game. And that was just us. She did that kind of thing for all the children.” Whitfield, 64, attributed his mother's resilience and devotion to her family to her faith. “She inspired me to be a man of God and to do whatever I do the best I could do. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her,” Whitfield said, mentioning the part his mother played in his elevation to the leading post in the Buffalo Fire Department.

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When Garnell Whitfield Sr. moved to the Michigan nursing facility Highpointe eight years ago, his wife's commitment to him was unwavering. “She went there every day. She took care of our dad as she’d done her whole married life. She brought him clean clothes, clipped his nails, shaved him, and cut his hair. She did everything,” Whitfield informed Buffalo News.

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Ruth Whitfield was a member of Durham Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church in Durham, North Carolina. “She gave her life to her family,” the son stated, before concluding the phone call. “They’re starting to bring the bodies out.” One of the victims of the incident was Aaron Salter Jr, a 30-year veteran Buffalo police officer who was serving as a security guard inside the business. 
 

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