Elkhart officers break silence on Martin's shooting

Two Elkhart police officers who were first on the scene when a gunman opened fire at a Martin’s grocery store, broke their silence on the subject today.

“I can’t really process right now my thoughts, what I was thinking when I first showed up,” said Corp. Cody Skipper. “I just know that there was something needed to be done and I’m going to do it, like I said, God was just watching over us, keeping us safe.”

Corp. Skipper and Corp. Jason Tripp were both honored today in Indianapolis during ceremonies on the floor of the Indiana House of Representatives.

“They saved a lot of lives, I’m convinced of that,” said the sponsor of the resolution of HCR 27, Ind. Rep. Tim Neese, (R) Elkhart. “Once they went in, took them about a minute to determine who was in danger and who wasn’t. They located the shooter who at that point had the manager, a man, on his knees. He could have well been victim number three, and the officers diffused the situation.”

Two innocent people died in an incident that was horrific although short lived. It ended when the officers shot and killed the gunman.

“It was kind of a scary moment, but I knew he was OK and that’s all that mattered,” said Gayle Tripp, the mother of Corp. Jason Tripp.

“It’s very humbling, like I said it’s amazing I’m very happy that I can be down here I can share this with my wife, and my son and my family, you know,” said Corp. Jason Tripp. “We’ve got the support of my colleagues and friends on the Elkhart City Police Department, it’s just amazing right now.”

As Skipper and Tripp were honored as heroes at the statehouse today, they were surrounded by people who considered them heroes long before the incident at Martin’s six weeks ago today.

Both officers are fathers of children under the age of three, and both had children, wives and parents on hand today. “So there’s a lot of officers that don’t get to go home at the end of the night, end of their shift unfortunately here in America you know,” said Corp. Skipper. “We’re just blessed that we were able to go home to our families, to our children, to our wives.”

“As a police officer you understand that you could be put in this situation at any time,” said Corp. Tripp. It’s why when you go to training you take it seriously.”

The resolution also honored the shooting victims, 20 year old Krystle Dikes, and 44 year old Rachelle Godfried. Dike’s mother, Juanita Whitacre attended today’s ceremonies in Indianapolis. “I really appreciate what the police department officers have been through and what they did. Their actions saved other families from having to possibly go through what my family and Rochelle’s friends have been through.”

Also in attendance was Rob Bartels, CEO of Martin’s Supermarkets. “Public recognition is so well deserved, these gentlemen did a fine job, can’t say enough about them, their character, their humility and in the middle of all this, just a couple of great guys representing and excellent police department.”

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