ELKHART COUNTY More than two months of information gathering has done little to reveal a motive for the January shooting spree at a Martin’s Super Market in Elkhart.
However, it was revealed today that the final shot fired by gunman Shawn Bair was to his own head.
“The revelation does not make Bair’s death a suicide, according to Elkhart County Prosecutor Curtis Hill. “He was given a command by one of the officers, words to the effect, ‘EPD, drop the gun.’ “He (Bair) raised his gun and as he raised his gun, the officers opened fire and fired ten rounds toward Mr. Bair, striking him eight or nine times with at least one of those shots—fatal.”
Bair succeeded in firing a shot to his own temple but that wound was suffered at the same time police fired a bullet into Bair’s chest. Experts can’t tell which came first.
As for a motive, police do now know what Shawn Bair texted just before he began terrorizing store employees and customers back on January 15th.
“There appears to be at least some texting he had done with his mother, primarily to confirm whether or not she was going to be at the store,” said Prosecutor Hill.
But it’s still not clear whether Bair did—or did not want his mother there as he carried out an attack that was—to some extent—planned.
“Following his death, the investigators were able to locate a note that was on his person that did confirm his suicidal tendencies and his interest in dying that particular night,” said Hill.
Furthermore, the prosecutor’s probe found no indication that Bair had an axe to grind with Martin’s and no indication that Bair knew either of the women he shot and killed in the store, employee Krystal Dikes or shopper Rachelle Godfread.
“In this particular instance, a lot of the ‘why’ died that night. We can't really go into what it is that was in the mind of someone that would commit such a heinous act,” Hill said.
Officers Cody Skipper and Jason Tripp have been on paid leave since the incident. “We’ll get the guys back to work as soon as we can,” said Elkhart Police Department Assistant Chief Laura Koch. “We know that they want to get back to work and we want them back.”
While it has been determined that the officers acted reasonably in using deadly force, they face another investigation to see if their actions were in line with police department policies and procedures.