BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Several retired Buffalo Police officers are announcing a new effort to honor the victims of the Tops mass shooting.
“We wanted to just let the victims families know that we’re still thinking of them and we wanted to do something to build upon just the golf tournament to try to raise funds to still be able to give back,” said Brad Pitts, a retired Buffalo Police officer.
The retired BPD officers, who are also close to the family of Aaron Salter, Jr. and worked with him, are announcing the first ever: 5/14 5K and half marathon, which will be held on the day before May 14.
“We wanted to do something in front of Tops where everybody can come out with the victim’s families and like I said, memorialize them,” said Vernon Beaty, a retired BPD police officer and former SWAT commander. “Any family that was involved, victims, whatever, we want them to be part of this, this is something that like Brad was saying we want to do this for now we don’t want their memories to be lost, never forget, we don’t want people to forget about it.”
There will also be a relay race for first responders. Registration for the event has already launched — proceeds from the scholarship will go to fund the Lt. Aaron Salter Memorial Scholarship.
The scholarship will fund 10 $5,000 grants for graduating high school seniors — applications for the scholarship are still being accepted and fundraising still continues with the potential of offering more than 10 scholarships.
There are some logistical problems in having the marathon go by the Tops on Jefferson Avenue, therefore the race will be held in Delaware Park.
There will also be a ceremony honoring the victims and their families after the race.
You can expect a formal announcement next Friday with Bills greats like Thurman Thomas at 1 p.m. at the Northland Workforce Training Center in Buffalo.
The Buffalo Marathon will be held a couple weeks after the 5-14 half marathon.
Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.