The Panera restaurant in Abingdon, the site where two Harford County Sheriffs Deputies were shot to death last week, reopened for business Tuesday, Feb. 16. (Bryna Zumer and Dan Griffin, Baltimore Sun Media Group)
On a rainy morning, with overnight on streets and sidewalks melting, Panera Bread in Abingdon's Boulevard at Box Hill reopened its doors to customers Tuesday for the first time since a Harford County Sheriff's Office senior deputy was fatally shot inside the restaurant on Feb. 10 and a second was fatally shot nearby a short time later.
Managers declined to comment directly on the reopening but seemed focused on letting business in the bakery-café return to normal.
Employees hugged some customers, and scores of flowers, balloons, letters and other mementos honoring Senior Deputies Patrick Dailey and Mark Logsdon remained in the pouring rain outside the restaurant.
Panera employees collected some of the mementos, including handwritten letters to the café, for display on a table indoors by the front windows.
The two senior deputies were killed when they went to investigate a report of a man with outstanding warrants who was inside the Panera. Police say David Brian Evans, 69, shot Dailey inside the restaurant and later shot Logsdon who had given chase in a nearby parking lot, where other deputies then fatally shot Evans.
One woman who came in Tuesday morning said she just missed being present during the shootings, when a friend decided they should go instead to the Panera café at Festival at Bel Air a few miles north on Route 924.
"It was just awful. I was actually going to stop by that day but my friend said let's stop over by the other one," Annalisa Rehkop, who lives in Abingdon, said. She had tears in her eyes as she left with some food.
"I just wanted to come today to show my support, especially just for the people who had to see that happen, for the families who lost their fathers and their husbands and the officers. I know for a lot of people it's just really hard when it hits so close to home," she said. "It's two minutes from my home, so it's just not something you think would happen. I definitely just wanted to show the community support."
Pat Wachter, also of Abingdon, said she was glad to see the Panera open again.
"I think it's a fabulous idea," she said. "I wish we could have done a prayer walk, but I understand completely you've got to get open and you've got to get back."
Wachter said she knows part of it is the business and profit motive, but she also thinks it is important to recover from such a tragedy.
"You can't let it control you," she said.
Wachter, who volunteers at Mountain Christian Church, she said went to Senior Deputy's visitation Monday at the Church's New Life Center.
She said she was raised in the area and feels strongly about showing support for Panera again, just as the community has pulled together behind the Sheriff's Office and all law enforcement.
"When I heard on the news this morning it was open, I wanted to come get bagels for my co-workers and come and get lunch and just support the owners and support the people who were here and support the establishment," Wachter said, adding she has "good memories" at Panera.
A second day of visitation for Senior Deputy Dailey will be from 2 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Mountain Christian Church's New Life Center in Joppa, with a fire service memorial service planned at 7 p.m. The funeral service will be Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Mountain Christian.
Visitation for Senior Deputy Logsdon will be from 2 to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the Mountain Christian New Life Center. His funeral service is at 10 a.m. Saturday at the APGFCU Arena on the campus of Harford Community College.