Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

March 27, 2014

Martin's shooting investigation outlined

GOSHEN — Elkhart County Prosecutor Curtis Hill confirmed Thursday that the actions of the two officers involved in a fatal police action shooting at the Martin’s Supermarket in Elkhart earlier this year were “reasonable” under the circumstances, adding that the investigation will not be referred to a grand jury and neither officer will face charges.

Hill made the confirmation during a press conference in Elkhart Thursday morning, where he provided a detailed breakdown of the events leading up to the Jan. 15 fatal shooting of two women, Martin’s employee Crystal Dikes and store customer Rachelle Godfread, by Elkhart resident Sean Bair, who in turn was fatally shot during an exchange with responding Elkhart police officers.

According to information provided by Indiana State Police, Elkhart police officers Cody Skipper and Jason Tripp received a dispatch at 10:07 p.m. Jan. 15 regarding a white male “active shooter”, later identified as Bair, inside Martin’s Supermarket with unknown victims. The two officers reportedly arrived at Martin’s within three minutes of the call where they soon confronted Bair, who did not comply with officers’ commands, thus leading to the fatal police action shooting.

In setting the scene, Hill indicated that Bair entered the supermarket at around 9:30 p.m. that evening wearing what he described as a dark, oversized coat. Video footage from the scene shows Bair wandering around the store for the next 30 minutes while apparently talking and texting on his cell phone. When questioned about who Bair may have been communicating with on his phone, Hill said state police are still trying to determine who Bair may have been talking to, though it does not appear at this time that Bair was working with an accomplice.

“That is still under review,” Hill said, noting that it does appear Bair may have been texting his mother before the shooting to try and determine if she was present in the store. “We may find that information and we may not.”

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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