ELKHART, Ind. (WGN TV) – Just across the Michigan-Indiana state line, police in the community of Elkhart worked late Thursday night to uncover a motive after a man walked into a grocery store and gunned down two women.
Instead of going to work Thursday night, Emily Hoeppner came to Martins Super Market in Elkhart, Ind., hand in hand with her mother. She came to pay her respects to a co-worker and customer who were murdered there just hours after her shift ended.
“It’s so surreal. I just worked yesterday and everything was normal. Then you get home and something like this happens,” Emily Hoeppner said.
What happened, police say, is 22-year-old Shawn Bair walked into the store Wednesday at about 9:30 p.m. Surveillance video shows him making phone calls and texting people.
“At approximately 10:05 p.m., things started to changed,” said Sgt. Trent Smith of the Indiana State Police.
Police say Bair pulled out a .44 caliber semi-automatic handgun, and shot and killed 20-year-old Krystal Dikes. Police say she had just started working at the store stocking the shelves. Friends say she was a caring, compassionate person.
“I don’t know what his goal was, I don’t know what his aim was, mad at the world. There’s definitely a family grieving for her. Definitely. And lots of friends,” said Dikes’ boyfriend Kyle Barnett.
After firing at another employee and missing, police say Bair shot and killed his second victim, 44-year-old Rachelle Godfread, who was there along with about 15 others shopping.
Everyone ran for the doors, except for the manager, who came face-to-face with Bair.
“Mr. Bair held the manager store hostage. He asked him to go to his knees. You could see the manager there in a praying position,” Smith said.
His prayers were answered. Police arrived within 3 minutes of the first 911 call. Once inside, they confronted Bair. The manager escaped and Bair, after making threatening jesters toward the officers, was shot and killed. Late Thursday, it was revealed that Bair had struggled with addiction and mental illness in the past, according to a report from The South Bend Tribune.
Police still aren’t sure why Bair, who police have been in contact with before, decided to go on this rampage but his Facebook page is filled with violent images and posts. In one post he says he knows he’s going hell. One from 2010 says he realized everybody should die, no matter what race or religion.
On Thursday night, however, his victims are on the minds of many, like Emily Hoeppner and her mom Robin who just couldn’t stay away.
“I felt like it’s the right thing to because there are souls that are now gone,” Robin Hoeppner said.