ELKHART — Snow fell lightly in the parking lot as customers and employees walked into Martin’s Super Market on Bristol Street for the first time since a shooting there left three people dead.
The grocery store reopened at noon Friday, Jan. 17, and customers were eager to go inside despite the tragedy that happened there just a couple of nights before.
A gunman, 22-year-old Shawn Walter Bair, killed two women — 20-year-old Krystle Dikes and 44-year-old Rachelle Godfread — at the grocery store Wednesday night, according to Indiana State Police investigators. Elkhart police shot and killed Bair when they arrived at the store.
Lloyd Yeager, a long-time Martin’s customer, stopped in the grocery store to grab lunch to go. Inside, he said, employees were comforting each other.
“I notice here that they try to be nice anyway, but I could tell they were trying to be nicer today, just opening after everything that happened, so it was nice to see,” he said.
Two employees from Linton’s Enchanted Gardens’ floral department, Maria Hartman and Katie Paul, stopped at a memorial set up in the grocery store’s parking lot to drop off two roses and a pair of peace doves. Hartman said she goes to the Martin’s store on Bristol Street at least three times a week, so when she heard news about the shooting, she couldn’t help but cry.
“I was devastated,” Hartman said.
After placing the flowers at the memorial for the victims, Hartman said she is excited to return to the store as a customer.
“The tragedy that happened will not stop me from going back in there,” she said. “I have a lot of friends that even work in there, so I will go back.”
Ashlee Harrison was among the first wave of customers to visit the store after it reopened. She used to work there and wanted to check in on her former co-workers. She said management greeted customers and thanked them for their support.
“Everybody’s still friendly, still smiles,” she said. “It’s the same old Martin’s.”