ELKHART Elkhart police are no strangers to dangerous situations. The Martin’s grocery store tragedy was the third time in just five months that they used deadly force to stop a suspect.
On Labor Day afternoon, a burglary suspect threatened police with a gun. The officers then shot and killed the suspect, 27-year-old Jaime Benavidez. The state prosecutor ruled they acted reasonably in the situation.
The second officer-involved shooting happened November 10th, following a long chase across the state line and back into Indiana. 31-year-old Christopher Ryckeart was driving a stolen truck and attempted to back into police officers at the end of the chase. A grand jury has yet to rule on that case.
The violence at Martin's is the second shooting to make national headlines in the first 16 days of 2014. Newscenter 16's Barbara Harrington led Today Show coverage Thursday, as people all over the country saw how a casual night at work, or a grocery shopping trip, could turn to tragedy in a matter of seconds.
It happened just one day after a shooting at a New Mexico middle school. A 12-year-old-boy and a 13-year-old girl were wounded. The boy remains in critical condition, with damage to his heart and his eyes. A 7th grade suspect has been charged as a juvenile with three counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.