A moment for grief

Posted on Jan. 16, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Jan. 16, 2014 at 6:59 p.m.

Stop for a moment. Just stop and grieve.

Stop and grieve for those who were taken from us.

We suffered a heartrending blow Wednesday night when a disaffected 22-year-old named Shawn Bair walked into a Martin’s Super Market and opened fire with a .40-caliber handgun, killing Krystle Dikes and Rachelle Godfread.

Dikes worked at Martin’s as a stocker. She graduated from Elkhart Central, lived in Muncie for a year, then moved back to Elkhart. She was 20.

Godfread, 44, left southern Indiana not long ago so that she could be close to her son, a basketball player at IU-South Bend. She was shopping at the store about 10 o’clock when Bair opened fire.

As a community, we lost our sense of security Wednesday night. That’s nothing compared to the losses suffered by the family, friends and coworkers of Dikes and Godfread.

We will quickly enter a discussion on how we can prevent other Shawn Bairs from taking innocent lives in Elkhart. We will debate the Second Amendment, argue for expanded access to mental health care services and talk about community policing.

We will do all those things. But not today. Today we need to stand as one with the families of Krystle Dikes and Rachelle Godfread because, as a community, we share their grief.

At the same time, this is a day to honor the courage of the Elkhart police officers who confronted Bair and stopped the killing. They saved at least one life, and almost certainly others.

Investigators said Bair carefully planned his attack, entering the store with a semiautomatic pistol beneath a heavy overcoat.

“It was obvious that he was going to the store with a mission,” said Sgt. Trent Smith, public information officer with the Indiana State Police Bremen Post.

Bair first killed Dikes, then Godfread. When police arrived, he was pointing his gun at a store manager.

“The bravery and the quick response of the Elkhart Police Department saved lives,” Smith said.

So did the Martin’s employees who helped shoppers and co-workers get out of the store. That, too, took courage.

We will soon engage in a heated debate about public safety, as we should. But not today.

Today we pause to honor our heroes. And most of all, we pause to grieve.

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