BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) — Hundreds of bikers hit the road Sunday for the Billittier Motorcycle Run in honor of Buffalo Sabres legend Rene Robert and Aaron Salter, Jr., the retired Buffalo police officer killed in the Tops mass shooting.

Each year during the event, Salter would be the person escorting the motorcyclists and making sure there were no accidents.

“Aaron was a rockstar, he dedicated his life, almost 30 years to serving and protecting the citizens of Buffalo and assisting while in the traffic department, your motorcycle run,” said Buffalo Police Deputy Commissioner Barbara Lark.

Salter was killed last month while trying to stop the shooter in the racist attack at Tops on Jefferson Avenue.

“I’m sure Aaron’s family is very appreciative, while they’re still in their mourning and grieving period,” Lark said. “I know the Buffalo Police Department, the members of our department are certainly doing everything we can to keep his memory alive and we are appreciative of the love and support that we’ve received from the community.”

Organizers say it was important for them to honor Salter and his service to the community.

“Aaron was just the salt of the earth, he really was,” said organizer Lou Billittier. “He was a heck of a guy, great police officer and he kept everybody safe for 15 years. We never had an accident, we’ve never had any incidents. We’ve got a lot of police agencies that help us every year, but he was a big part of it, so it’s a little void that we have to fill.”

The event also paid tribute to Buffalo Sabres legend Rene Robert, who was a part of the French Connection.

“This year is a little special for us because we lost our long time road captain Rene Robert from the Buffalo Sabres,” Billittier said. “He always led this run.”

Robert passed away last year at the age of 72.

“Rene’s anniversary was just two days ago, that he passed so between that and Aaron, they were long time supporters so it’s important,” Billittier said.

The money raised from today’s event will go toward the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the Variety Club of Buffalo and the 5-14 Survivor’s Fund.

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter from Buffalo, N.Y. who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here and follow her on Twitter.