2014 Martin's shooting victim's estate sues super market for wrongful death

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By: Krystal Vivian kvivian@953mnc.com

(Photo supplied/The Elkhart Truth)

The estate of one of the victims of the 2014 Martin’s shooting in Elkhart is suing the grocery store chain, claiming that the business didn’t have appropriate security to prevent or stop such an attack, as reported by the South Bend Tribune

The estate of Rachelle Godfread, one of the two women shot by gunman Shawn Bair before he died in an altercation with police, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Martin’s Super Markets in St. Joseph County on behalf of Godfread’s two sons, Joseph and Michael Godfread.

Krystle Dykes, a 20-year-old overnight stocker for Martin’s, was also shot and killed in the attack.

“The bottom line, I think, is that in this day and age, unfortunately, we know these (shootings) happen, we know there are many of them every single year, so I think at 10 o’clock at night, if you’re going to keep your store open, there’s clearly a duty under the law to protect your customers,” Benjamin Fryman, an attorney for Godfread’s estate, told the South Bend Tribune.

Fryman didn’t elaborate on what specific measures Martin’s Super Markets could have taken to prevent or stop the attack.

The lawsuit is seeking compensation for both sons, as well as medical expenses, funeral costs, attorney fees, estate costs and other expenses, according to the Tribune.

On Jan. 15, 2014, Bair walked into the store in the 3400 block of Bristol Street and walked around for about 30 minutes before pulling out a .40-caliber handgun and shooting Dykes. He shot at another person in the store and missed, then shot Godfread several aisles away.

Bair was preparing to shoot the store manager when two officers, Cpl. Cody Skipper and Cpl. Jason Tripp, entered the store and confronted him. The officers fired at Bair, piercing his heart, at the same time Bair raised his gun and shot himself in the head. A coroner couldn’t determine if Bair was killed by his own hand or by the officers’ gunfire.

Skipper and Tripp were later honored by local groups and by the Indiana General Assembly for their quick response to the shooting.