ELKHART — Police have not determined how long Shawn Walter Bair planned a shooting that left two women dead at a Martin's Super Market on the north side of Elkhart, but they know the incident was thought-out.
“It was obvious that he was going to the store with a mission,” Sgt. Trent Smith said during a press conference Thursday morning, Jan. 16. “As far as how in-depth the planning phase was, I can't really comment on that, we don't know at this point.”
Footage caught in the supermarket's surveillance cameras shows Bair's actions before and after he shot 20-year-old Krystle Dikes, Smith said. It also shows confused customers running out of the building, hiding or peeking around corners after they heard the first gunshots.
“People walk around and you expect to be safe in the environment that you are familiar with,” he said. “You expect to be safe in a grocery store that's in your neighborhood.”
Bair arrived at the supermarket at about 9:30 p.m., and he walked around the store apparently sending text messages and making phone calls, Smith said.
Shortly after shooting Dikes, who was an employee at the store, Bair shot 44-year-old Rachelle Godfread, a customer.
Smith said he was not sure who made the 911 call, but he said the call came in at about 10:07 p.m.
Two officers from the Elkhart Police Department who were near the grocery at an unrelated call arrived at the scene about three minutes later.
Bair held a store manager hostage and was pointing a gun at him when police arrived. Smith said when Bair saw the officers, he ran down some aisles before police caught up with him.
Upon reaching the last aisle, police fired shots and fatally wounded Bair.
“There is no doubt in my mind that two things happened that night,” Smith said. “The bravery and the quick response of the Elkhart Police Department saved lives. There's no doubt that there were a couple of employees that worked for Martin's Super Market that I watched in the video footage that waited to help others get out of the store.”
Smith said police then went to Bair's house — he was living with his parents — to search the residence and collect evidence. Police did not search any vehicles as they determined Bair walked to the store.
Smith said Bair's family's response was that of shock.
“You don't ever want to think of your child being involved in something like that,” he said. “The initial shock, of someone coming to your door saying your son is dead.”
Police have not yet established a motive, Smith said. However, police did find a possible connection between Bair and one of the victims.
Smith said police will look at his criminal, educational and personal background to learn more about what pushed Bair to plan the shooting.
Smith commended the officers who responded to the scene, saying the officers from the Elkhart Police Department are well-trained and professional.
“We put on the uniform to protect other people, we know the circumstances and the harm that may come our way coming through the door but that's the risk that we take walking through that door where there's been an active shooter.”
Elkhart County Prosecutor Curtis Hill said his office will follow standard protocol that comes with any officer-involved shooting. The prosecutor's office will wait until the Indiana State Police complete their investigation to review the officers' actions.
“Based on my preliminary understanding on what occurred, but for the time of the response from the police department, there is an overwhelming amount of probability of more death,” Hill said. “That also will be taken into consideration when I have my opportunity to review the investigation.”
Mayor Dick Moore also spoke during the conference, saying the community offers condolences to the families involved in the shooting
“We're very appreciative of the Indiana State Police responding very quickly to this investigation,” Moore said. “I'm also so appreciative of the police department that was able to make a three-minute response, was trained to do the job and then had the courage to do the job well. It certainly quieted something that could have been much worse than it was.”