‘I just wanted to get the hell out of there’

Mike Bailey "thankful'' he didn't make a return trip to store before tragic shooting.
Posted on Jan. 16, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.

ELKHART — Mike Bailey, like dozens of other Elkhart area residents, spent part of his Wednesday evening in the Martin’s Super Market on East Bristol Street.

A few hours later, Bailey was caught in the emotions of a shooting incident that claimed the lives of two innocent victims as well as a lone gunman.

“What bothers me most is, ‘What if I was there?’” said Bailey, who felt lucky — and thankful — he was talked out of a second trip back to the store.

At 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15, Bailey, his wife, Nikki, and newborn son, Niko, were picking up a few things for dinner.

A little after 10 p.m., Shawn Bair shot and killed two women — Krystle Dikes, 22, and Rachelle Godfread, 44 — before he was shot and killed by Elkhart police first responders.

Bailey said he almost went back around 9 p.m. for additional items.

“We didn’t have enough for what we were having for dinner and normally she would have asked me to go get more,” Bailey said Thursday morning. “She said, ‘Awww, it’s okay.’ Thank God I didn’t go back

“We live five minutes down the road. I find myself getting worked up when I think about what would have happened to my family. I don’t know what I’d do. That’s what I thought about all morning.”

As the incident unfolded, Mikel Ropp and his wife were next door at the Fat Tomato restaurant. They were about to leave just as a wave of law enforcement and emergency vehicles arrived on the scene.

“I actually had been over there around 7:30 to drop off some movies in the ‘RedBox.’ We had finished up dinner, enjoyed some music and then we saw the red lights showing up at Martin’s,” Ropp, 34, said. “Frankly, my first reaction was to get the heck out of there.

“I was terribly worried for the people in that store,” said Ropp, who indicated that a Martin’s employee parked near him described what happened inside the store. “I go there pretty often and eat at that Starbucks almost every day when the weather is nice.

“We didn’t know if (the gunman) was inside, outside in the lots, whether the shooter was roaming around. I just wanted to get the hell out of there.”

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