Salter, 55, pulled his gun and opened fire on body armor-clad suspect Payton Gendron, but was shot and died at the scene along with nine other people.
“We pay tribute to all law enforcement officers and families who understand what it takes, what’s at risk to save and protect all of us,” Biden said at a White House event where he presented the Medal of Valor to 15 other heroic cops and firefighters.
“And that includes paying tribute to the Buffalo police officer Aaron Salter — Slater, excuse me — who gave his life trying to save others when a gunman shot and killed 10 innocent people in a grocery store in Buffalo on Saturday,” the president went on.
“He actually was able to shoot the assailant twice, but he [Gendron] had on a bulletproof vest. And he [Salter] lost his life in the process. No one understands more than all of you here today the pain and anguish those families in Buffalo feel.”
Gendron, 18, is believed to have been motivated by anti-black racism. He is accused of shooting 13 people, 11 of whom were black.
Biden is scheduled to visit Buffalo on Tuesday to meet with members of the community affected by the tragedy.
Biden on Monday presented the Medal of Valor to 15 police and firefighters — some of whom died while performing recent feats of bravery. Among those honored were Spring Valley, NY, firefighter Jared Lloyd, 35, who died last year while rescuing elderly residents from a burning nursing home.
Firefighter Abraham Miller of the New York City Fire Department also was recognized with a medal for repelling down a six-story building in Washington Heights to save a five-year-old girl from a fire. One of Miller’s colleagues held the rope because there wasn’t anything else to anchor it.