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Martin's not negligent in double fatal shooting at Elkhart store

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- A St. Joseph County judge ruled in favor of Martin's Supermarkets in the negligence suit brought by the estate of Rachelle Godfread, who was shot and killed in the Elkhart store by another customer in January 2014.

Rachelle's estate sued Martin's for damages for failing to protect Godfread from the active shooter. The lawsuit was filed in January 2016.

On the evening of January 15, 2014, investigators say Shawn Bair walked around the Martin's store for approximately 40 minutes, then shot and killed employee Krystle Dikes and then 64 seconds later, shot and killed customer Rachelle Godfread.

Bair turned the gun on himself as Elkhart Police fired at him.

Godfread's estate alleged Martin's failed to inspect and monitor the store for dangers, and failed to warn Godfread of the active shooter. The estate sued for damages and other costs associated with the lawsuit.

The judge stated in his ruling since the facts of the case are not in dispute, summary judgment would be appropriate.

The judge ruled based on controlling precedent, Martin's had no duty to protect Godfread from being shot, and granted Martin's motion for summary judgment.

The judge wrote in his ruling, "If a shooting at a 'neighborhood bar' is not foreseeable as a matter of law, a shooting at a supermarket cannot be foreseeable as a matter of law either. If anything, a shooting at a supermarket is even less foreseeable than a shooting at a 'neighborhood bar.'"

The estate's motion for summary judgment was denied.

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