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Bellevue Sonic shadowed by shooting reopens with memorial plans

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 6:23 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A metro business targeted by a gunman reopens. It’s been nearly two months since officers arrested Roberto Silva and charged him with murder.

Two dead -- two critically injured.

Bryant Morrison said, “I never thought I’d see anything like this in our business.”

In November, a single gunman walked into the Bellevue Sonic drive-in and started shooting -- seemingly upset he’d been arrested days earlier for allegedly charging his food to someone else’s account.

For the first time since then, the business is back open.

Bryant Morrison, Sonic Franchise Owner said, “It’s been a healing process for our staff more than anything else. It’s also surreal to be reopened.”

The outside has been retrofitted with the new sonic concept. The inside has been remodeled and new equipment.

Eighty-percent of the employees vowed to come back. But the franchise owner wasn’t sure if he might just tear down the place because it’s too hard to come back here.

His decision to reopen, reaffirmed by the actions of his staff and customers this morning.

“It’s right there in a sonic cup -- on the window ledge,” said Morrison.

A single rose given from a customer to an employee.

Mike Goodell drove from West Omaha to Bellevue for lunch to show he’s rooting for them.

“Standing behind employees is important during a recovery process. And opening back and returning to normalcy -- it’s what we all want to see in our country,” said Goodell.

Once it’s warm enough this spring this area will be turned into a patio scape -- a fireplace with seats and a flagpole to honor the victims.

“This is the site that is memorialized for the victims and families know they can always come here and see it,” said Morrison.

One of the men killed, Ryan Helbert, his sister stopped by to see the plans. He was known at sonic as the ice cream specialist.

“It was good to see her. She wanted to see where we were putting the memorial. She was a big part of Ryan’s life -- and to see it open again.”

The memorial will also include some of the items that have gathered across the street for the last two months. A way to move forward -- when it’s so awful to look back.

Some of the employees who were here that fateful night, Saturday, November 21st is back on the job tonight.

One of the injured workers, Kenny Gerner is expected to work a couple of short shifts next week.

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