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2 Elkhart officers back on duty

– Two police officers hailed as heroes for ending a January supermarket attack that killed two people will return to duty today.

Cpls. Jason Tripp and Cody Skipper have been on paid administrative leave for nearly three months since the Jan. 15 shootings at Martin’s Super Market.

Tripp and Skipper were the first two officers on the scene of the shootings and confronted 22-year-old Shawn Bair as he threatened to shoot a store manager.

Elkhart County Prosecutor Curtis Hill said during a March 27 news conference that Tripp and Skipper were justified in using deadly force because it was an active shooter situation and because Bair didn’t comply when they ordered him to drop his gun, instead raising it toward them.

“As he raised his gun, the officers opened fire,” Hill said then.

A review found neither officer violated policy or training, Lt. Mike Sigsbee, head of the police department’s internal affairs office, said in a statement, the Elkhart Truth reported.

Neither Tripp nor Skipper wished to comment publicly on their return to duty, the police department said in a news release.

“The Elkhart Police Department will honor their request to put this incident behind themselves,” Sigsbee said in a statement.

“Their actions and performance were heroic and exceptional,” he added.

Two women, 20-year-old store employee Krystle Dikes and 44-year-old customer Rachelle Godfread, were killed in the shootings.

A coroner was unable to determine whether Bair died from a gunshot to his heart by police or a self-inflicted head wound because they occurred nearly simultaneously, Hill said.

The General Assembly honored officers Skipper and Tripp in February for their bravery.