BUFFALO, N.Y. — "Canisius College is proud to confer the degree of Bachelor of the Arts to Aaron Salter Jr. posthumously."
Those words were read during the Canisius commencement ceremony that was held on Saturday, and according to his son, Aaron Salter III, "He was definitely smiling, is definitely smiling."
One week after the shooting that claimed his life, Aaron Salter Jr. was honored by Canisius College with the degree he was so close to completing.
Salter's son, Aaron Salter III, was there to receive the diploma, stole, and honor cords from the college. His father only needed three credits, or one class, to finish.
"When they told me that they were going to do that for him, and they asked me if I wanted to do it, I said absolutely," Aaron Salter III said.
Aaron Salter Jr. has been hailed as a hero since the racially motivated shooting at the Tops Friendly Market on Jefferson Avenue that claimed his life and nine others. He fired multiple times at the shooter before being shot and killed himself.
Salter's son says he's heard so many people take the time to recognize his father's bravery, but this moment was special.
"This one hit a little bit closer to home because, you know, he they gave him his credits and they still gave him, you know, what he was trying to complete. So it just meant that it made the most," Aaron Salter III said.
The younger Salter mentioned the college is special to his family. It's where his parents first meant. Over the years, Salter tried to finish, but other responsibilities took priority.
And for the son of the retired Buffalo Police officer who cared so much for his community, it's a moment he says he won't forget.