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Investigation of Martin's shooting expected to last until early March

As detectives have worked full-time for a month to prepare a case, the Elkhart community has spent its time since the shooting creating fundraisers for the victims' families and promoting random acts of kindness.



Posted on Feb. 14, 2014 at 5:11 p.m.

ELKHART — The state police investigation into the shooting at an Elkhart grocery store continues one month after the incident.

Sgt. Trent Smith of the Indiana State Police said three detectives are working on the case full-time and expect to have it finished by early March.

The case will then be sent to the Elkhart County Prosecutor's office for review.

After the prosecutor has reviewed the case and any criminal proceedings have concluded, the Elkhart Police Department will conduct an internal affairs investigation, as is its policy for all officer-involved shootings.

Police could not release further details of the case on Friday afternoon, Feb. 14.

According to police, 20-year-old Shawn Bair entered the store around 9:30 p.m. Jan. 15 and walked around for about half an hour before shooting and killing 20-year-old Martin's employee Krystle Dikes and 44-year-old shopper Rachelle Godfread. 

The Elkhart City 911 Dispatch Center received the first 911 call at 10:07 p.m. Elkhart police officers Cpl. Cody Skipper and Cpl. Jason Tripp, who were on an unrelated call nearby, responded within three minutes. 

When they arrived, the officers found Bair holding a store manager hostage. The manager escaped when Bair was distracted by the arrival of the officers and Bair ran away down an aisle. 

The officers shot and killed Bair a short time later, according to the state police.

In the days following the shooting, the community rallied around the store and the families of the victims.

Hundreds of people attended a candlelight vigil in the store's parking lot on Jan. 18.

An "Elkhart Strong" Facebook group has garnered more than 9,000 likes and organized sales of shirts to raise money for the victims' families.

Mike Bailey of Elkhart started the page to encourage people to perform two random acts of kindness in honor of Dikes and Godfread.

"We wanted to raise money for families and, in doing so, encourage people to do something nice," Bailey said. "There's so much negativity around us all the time."

Bailey encourages people to share their acts of kindness on the Elkhart Strong page.

"Some find it boastful, but it encourages other people to do something nice," he said. "The families (of the victims) take comfort in reading that people are doing stuff because of (the victims)."

The acts of kindness posted on the page have ranged from people helping strangers pull cars out of snowbanks to paying for someone's sandwich at Subway. One mother-daughter duo passed out Starbucks gift cards outside a Martin's store, while other people have paid for other drivers' gas at gas stations.

Dikes' mother is also involved, Bailey said. She recently posted photos to the page showing the work she and others did to dig fire hydrants out of the snow in their neighborhood.

"There's just been too many (acts of kindness) to count," Bailey said.

Miriam Cooper, owner of Skinner the Printer, said she had sold 310 shirts as of Feb. 6, raising $2,170 to be deposited into trust funds set up by Martin's for the families.

"I've sold more since then but I don't have a count right now," Cooper said, adding that orders for the $15 shirts have been slowly subsiding.

"I think it was a great opportunity and it is a great opportunity for people to keep it in mind to do an act of kindness for someone," she said. "It doesn’t matter what it is."

"We at Skinner are very happy to be a part of it," Cooper said.

 A spokeswoman for Martin's Super Markets said the company will make no further comments on the incident.

 



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