File photo of R.K. Jewelers in Grand Haven. Photo by Jeremy Bender.
GRAND HAVEN - Police have confirmed that two men found dead Wednesday afternoon at a downtown Grand Haven jewelry store were shot in the back of the head with a small caliber gun, said Lt. Mark Reiss, Grand Haven Department of Public Safety. Gun casings were found at the scene.
Bob Karell, owner of R.K. Jewelry, 124 Washington Ave., was found dead in his office in the back of the store. A customer, 77-year-old Louis Paparella of Muskegon, was in the store's common area.
GHDPS Chief Dennis Edwards said Karell's daughter found her father and called 911 about 3:30 p.m. "She apparently did not realize there was another person in the store," Edwards said.
Emergency personnel were called to R.K. Jewelers, 124 Washington Ave., shortly after 3:30 p.m. Wednesday on that medical call of a man down. Police said that was when the daughter had returned from lunch.
Reiss said there were customers in the store as late as 2:30 p.m. and that the daughter had not left the store until about 2:45 p.m.
"We still don't know if anything was taken," Reiss said. "It may be a day or two until an inventory is done."
Holly Alphenaar, an employee of Great Harvest Bread Co. next door, said "we knew nothing. We didn't hear anything that was happening next door until we saw the police."
Mayor Roger Bergman said that the GHDPS officers were doing everything they could to make sure the citizens are safe.
"We have dedicated public safety officers - men and women who take it upon themselves to make our community safe," he said.
Chief Edwards said police went door-to-door after the shooting to talk to merchants and customers. Some stores closed their doors for the day, while many others stayed open.
"This was a tragedy here today," said Bergman. "I'm saddened as a downtown merchant, a community leader and a downtown resident."
Bergman said he knew Bob Karell and would often see him in the morning walking with his dog.
"Bob has been a fixture in our community for many, many years," Bergman said. "He will be missed."
Bergman said it was just three weeks ago he visited Karell to sell him some old class rings. "He was there with his grandchildren. They were in his office watching TV. I can't imagine how awful it might have been if they had been there today."
Mike Pitcher, co-owner of Grand Haven Jewelry just up the street said "this is awful. We've known Bob for years and years and years. My heart goes out to her (Karell's daughter). These two have been working together for as many years as I've worked with my father. They're a wonderful family."
Nearby resident Henry Fase, who was born and raised in Grand Haven said this kind of thing just doesn't happen in Grand Haven.
"It's amazing to me at how someone can take another person's life."
Chief Edwards said the MSP forensics team was slowly working its way through the scene, that they were used by every small department on this type of case.
At this time the suspect(s) are unknown and the motive unknown. Anyone with information is asked to call Silent Observer at 842-1400 or the GHDPS at 842-3460.
Becky Vargo - Grand Haven Tribune