CANTON, Ohio – A man who walked into a Bob Evans restaurant and fatally shot a waitress on Friday was captured after a day-long manhunt that included U.S. Marshals, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and local law enforcement.
Richard J. Nelson, 54, of Canton, is accused of walking into the business at 9:30 a.m., going behind a counter and opening fire, shooting waitress Rebecca Jean Rogers, 38, multiple times in a back hallway. Authorities say it was a domestic-related shooting.
The gunman fled the scene after the shooting and remained at large for hours before being caught.
About a half dozen customers and six to eight employees were inside the restaurant when the shooting occurred.
Police were called to a report of multiple shots fired with multiple victims, Police Chief Jack Angelo said at the scene.
“As tragic as this is, it could’ve been far worse,” he said. Only the waitress was shot.
Angelo said officers arrived just before the SWAT team, which was conducting a training exercise nearby, and cleared the building.
Rogers, who most recently lived in Massillon, was taken to Cleveland Clinic Mercy Hospital where she later died from her injuries.
A Bob Evans employee who dialed 911 during the shooting can be heard telling people to “get down, tell them to get down.”
When the dispatcher asks whether anyone has been shot, she says she doesn’t know. She and the others are hiding under tables.
“We can’t get out. We’re scared.”
In another 911 call, a customer said that she has just heard four or five shots. “All of us just went running out. There were some older people and my husband just made sure they got out.”
Angelo said Nelson dated Rogers but they had separated.
Rogers had filed a police report against Nelson in March 2017 after he entered her home. Nelson was charged with stalking by menacing and burglary and taken to the Stark County Jail, according to court records.
But later, Rogers was found guilty of filing a false police report in the case.