ELKHART — Carol Reid was stunned late Wednesday night, Jan. 15, when her 22-year-old son, Robert Reid, told her that there had been a shooting at the Martin’s Super Market where he works.
“He just said, there’s been a shooting and three people are dead,” Reid remembered.
Her son, an assistant manager in the dairy department of the Martin’s on Bristol Street, typically worked the late shift and would have been at the store when the gunman strode in if he had not covered for another employee earlier that day.
“‘Thank God you weren’t working tonight’ — that’s the first thing I said,” the mother said.
Robert Reid got a text message from a friend who works at another Martin’s store on Wednesday night, asking if he was OK. Robert Reid, worried about friends and co-workers, started calling and texting people who he knew would be at the store working.
“He was kind of freaking out, because no one was answering,” Carol Reid said.
Thursday morning, Carol Reid is trying to go about her usual routine — but she can’t stop thinking about the families of the people who were killed the previous night.
“It could have been me,” Reid said, wiping away tears.
She said she’s angry that this happened and called the shooter’s actions “senseless.”
“I just don’t understand how somebody that young could have something so dark in their heart, to make them do something like that,” she said. “You hear about these things in other places, but when it happens in your backyard, that’s pretty tough to take.”
Jennifer Lantz is a lifelong resident of Elkhart who lives just a few blocks from the Martin’s where the shooting happened. She shops there daily, she said, and her 17-year-old son, Ryan Lantz, works at the store. Her daughter, Kayla Lantz, 19, works at a Martin’s store on Nappanee Street.
Lantz said the idea of a shooter at her children’s workplace “absolutely scares me to the core.”
She was awake most of Wednesday night into Thursday morning watching news updates with her son who is “devastated.”
Ryan was not at work when the shooting happened, but Lantz said that he often works the night shift. He knows the younger victim, but Lantz isn’t sure how close the two were.
Lantz said that Ryan is close to several employees who work at the Bristol Street store, and she thinks he will want to return to work when the store reopens.
“Knowing my son, he will definitely want to go back,” she said.