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Gunman arrested after fatally shooting waitress during 'domestic incident' inside Bob Evans in Canton

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Posted at 10:49 AM, Apr 16, 2021

CANTON, Ohio — A gunman was arrested hours after police say he fatally shot a waitress during a "domestic incident" inside a Bob Evans Restaurant in Canton Friday, Canton Police Chief Jack Angelo confirmed.

The waitress, identified as Rebecca Jean Rogers, 38, of Canton, died from her injuries after she was taken to Mercy Hospital.

The shooting happened at around 9:30 a.m. inside the restaurant located at 3400 Lesh Street Northeast.

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Woman shot inside Bob Evans restaurant.

Multiple calls came in for an active shooter. Within two minutes of receiving the calls, multiple departments including the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Canton Police Department, and the Stark County Sherriff's Office arrived at the restaurant.

"We can't get out. We're scared," an employee told a 911 operator. "We're worried about our other employee."

Preliminary information revealed Rogers saw the suspected shooter, later identified as Richard James Nelson, 54, of Canton, come in with a gun, so she ran down the hallway of the restaurant where she was shot, Angelo said.

Police estimate there were between six to eight employees inside and approximately six to eight customers inside at the time of the shooting.

Nelson was at-large until U.S. Marshals, the Canton Police Department and the Stark County Sheriff's Office arrested him Friday evening in East Canton.

Authorities said they received a tip that led them to the 9300 block of East Lincoln Street and he was arrested in a wooded area. Nelson had a gun with him at the time of the arrest.

Angelo said the shooting is considered a "domestic incident" between a girlfriend and a boyfriend.

"It's a horrible tragedy what happened. It could have been far worse. We were expecting to see when got here multiple people wounded," Angelo said. "Domestics are just very, very touchy and very dangerous and as you can see here, this turned into a tragedy."

Misty Basham, a former Bob Evan employee and a close friend of the victim, said Rogers was a mother and grandmother who enjoyed life and working at the restaurant.

"This is horrible. You're in your own place of work where you're supposed to feel safe," Basham said. "It's devastating. It's devastating."

Crisis counselors were brought in to talk to customers and employees who witnessed the shooting.

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