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The Times
  • Empire Diner owner stays calm and serves community

  • Crazy Otto’s Empire Diner owner Scott Tranter was at the diner all day Wednesday to witness the day’s events unfold.

    Although the incidents that occurred throughout the day may have shook the lives of many, Tranter said he stayed calm and served his community.


     

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  • Crazy Otto’s Empire Diner owner Scott Tranter was at the diner all day Wednesday to witness the day’s events unfold.
    Although the incidents that occurred throughout the day may have shook the lives of many, Tranter said he stayed calm and served his community.
    At around 9 a.m. Tranter said he saw police cars heading west on state Route 5S.
    “Everyone was concerned and some of the people in the diner went outside to see where they were headed. About a half an hour later we started hearing sirens coming from different directions and heading down North Main Street and Prospect Street,” he said.
    Tranter said a party of five that worked for a state agency was in the area to do an evaluation on North Main Street prior to knowing about the day’s events.
    He said the patrons had radios with them that announced there were multiple shootings and that the suspect had fled.
    “After hearing about the shooting several of my employees and customers began calling their family members to alert them and make sure they were all safe,” said Tranter.
    He said one of his employees, Pat Roberts, had a scare just after law enforcement headed towards North Main Street.
    “Pat lives in the 210 building and as he was headed into the building he found himself with an assault rifle pointing at his face. An officer was holding the weapon as he went in to the building searching for the suspected shooter,” said Tranter. “Pat said the officer told him to get out of the building and began kicking down doors.”
    He said he noticed blood on the ground in front of the diner after all the commotion began. “A regular patron said he noticed the blood in the area at 6 a.m., prior to the events that occurred in the nearby area,” said Tranter.|
    He called the police and a forensic team came to investigate the area.
    According to Tranter police said there was a fight in the area on Tuesday night and they might have not of noticed the blood in the dark.
    He said police were unsure of what occurred Tuesday evening and are investigating the incident, but he said there are rumors the shooter stopped in the diner parking lot before he headed down North Main Street. “No one knows for sure,” said Tranter.
    Throughout the late morning hours Wednesday Tranter said he saw people gather on North Main Street until shots were fired around 1:30 p.m.
    “My head cook, Francis Young, was outside when the shots were fired and he alerted everyone inside that gun shots were fired. Once we heard that, we locked the back door and we could see reporters and the public being pushed back by police to the diner near the intersection of North and South Main streets,” he said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Throughout the day Tranter said he and his employees brought coffee to police, first responders and news reporters. He added he also opened up the diner to those who were displaced due to the incident. “There was a lot of people who had nowhere to go, so we brought them here and fed them and gave them shelter,” he said.
    Tranter’s wife, Kim, also helped by using social media and posted a status on Facebook to alert the public that shelter was being provided for those who were displaced.
    “At a time like this we all come together and become a hub for our community,” said Kim Tranter.
    Scott Tranter said throughout the day locals stayed at the diner to show their support.
    “This diner has become a home to locals and everyone seemed to gravitate here,” he said.
    He added the events that occurred throughout Wednesday and Thursday were surreal.
    “Any time a life is lost it’s very sad and this was especially traumatic for the whole community. The past few days have been scary and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and loved one’s effected by this tragedy,” said Tranter.
    “Has justice been served, yes, but is there closure because he is dead no because the families involved will never have the opportunity to look into his eyes and ask why? There might be theories but no one will probably ever know why he did what he did.”
     

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