Thursday, August 26, 2004

Kmart victim's family baffled by shooting

None has ever heard of gunman

By Jane Prendergast, Jennifer Edwards and Ari Bloomekatz
Enquirer staff writers

COLERAIN TWP. - One hoped to be a Kmart manager. The other was a machinist and barbershop singer who stopped with his wife to return some merchandise.

Paul Heid, a 22-year-old father who was getting ready to announce that he and his girlfriend would marry, wasn't supposed to be at work at the Colerain Avenue Kmart store Tuesday night, but his supervisor called and asked him to fill in for someone.

A photograph of Paul Heid, held by his brother John Heid (foreground), as Aaron Heid (right) talks about his brother's life and what he meant to the family.
(Enquirer photo/MICHAEL E. KEATING)
Heid was planning to spend the night with his 4-year-old daughter, Hope, whom he loved to shower with dolls, candy and frilly dresses. He'd just run home to his parents' house in Colerain Township, where he lived, to grab a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on his dinner break.

Meanwhile, James Patrick "Pat'' Daly, 46, a machinist at Central Roller of Cincinnati Inc. on Vine Street, was just out enjoying the evening with his wife, Janet. They stopped at Kmart so that Janet could return some clothes.

Shortly after Heid returned to work, he was shot three times by Paul Thomas Faith, a 25-year-old man with a history of convictions for drugs and carrying a concealed weapon. Heid died at the scene.

Seconds after customers and employees heard the shots, Daly, a father of four from Mount Healthy, pushed his wife out of the store. Then, his sons said, he went back in to help others get out. Faith, while running out of the store, shot Daly twice - once in the jaw, once in the back. Daly remained in critical condition Wednesday at University Hospital.

After shooting the two men, Faith jumped into his car and drove out of the Kmart parking lot. About 10 minutes later, he shot and killed himself after a police chase.

Authorities insisted late Wednesday that they still hadn't figured out a connection between Faith and Heid.

"I have never experienced this kind of gripping horror story in my life," Don Heid, Paul's father, said, struggling to speak on his front lawn.

"The thing you as a parent don't ever want to find out is your child was taken before you."

Surveillance video at the store, 8451 Colerain Ave., doesn't show the shooting, said Steve Barnett, spokesman for the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office, which is investigating. Faith did not have a permit to carry the 9mm semiautomatic pistol he used in the shooting, Barnett said.

The Rev. Robert J. Farrell of St. Bartholomew, the Springfield Township Catholic church where Daly sings in the choir and the couple organizes the annual festival, said: "It didn't surprise me when I heard that he might have gone back in to help other people. He was obviously thinking beyond himself and thinking of other people.''

Grief counselors were available Wednesday for Kmart workers who wanted to talk. The counselors will stay as long as employees want them there, said Stephen Pagnani, a spokesman at the company's headquarters in Troy, Mich. He said in a statement that the company would make a financial donation to Heid's family. The amount was yet to be determined.

"Kmart is deeply saddened by last night's tragic incident at its Colerain Avenue store in Cincinnati and our thoughts are with the families of all the victims," the statement read. "The company sends its deepest sympathy to the family of Kmart employee Paul Heid. Paul was well liked by his fellow associates and a valuable member of the Kmart team. He will be missed.''

Authorities initially said customers and employees chased Faith out of the store, but Barnett Wednesday corrected that. He said everyone was just trying to get away from the gunman.

"People heard the shots, and all hell broke loose,'' he said.

They also initially thought that Faith shot at Deputy Mike Robbins, who was on foot outside the store. Robbins fired at Faith, who was fleeing the parking lot in a gray Oldsmobile. But he did not hit him.

After the shootings, about 7:30 p.m., police chased the Oldsmobile down Colerain Avenue to Beekman Street into South Fairmount, where he stopped the car and shot himself in the head about 10 minutes later.

Faith had been convicted of carrying a concealed weapon in 1997, Hamilton County court records show. He also had a history of drug- and alcohol-related convictions in 1997-02 and a resisting-arrest conviction in 2002.

He had lived with his grandfather in Green Township and had moved into an apartment in Delhi Township.

"We never thought this would happen," his grandfather, Robert Steinkamp, said. "We never knew anything like this could happen. If we had, we would have done something."

Daly's children and wife waited for hours Wednesday at University Hospital, where he was recovering from surgery. It was supposed to be the first day of school at Roger Bacon for his youngest son, Jeff, 17, and youngest daughter, Jamie, 15.

"I'm just really worried about him,'' another son, Jason, 22, said. "I really hope he turns out OK.''

Daly sings in the Cincinnati Delta Kings Chorus, a barbershop harmony group, which is scheduled tonight to give a concert at the Cottingham Retirement Center in Sharonville.

Heid's family thinks that the shooting was random because they had never heard of Faith before Tuesday. And none of Heid's friends have called his parents to say they recognized Faith from his picture in the news.

Earlier this year, Heid invented a new kind of driveway basketball hoop with flashing lights and a scoreboard, his sister-in-law, Jessica Heid, said. He was waiting to receive the patent.

"He is a great listener and a very compassionate person,'' she said. "We are not even out of the grieving process. We're still waiting for him to come home."

Hope didn't yet know Wednesday that her daddy was dead.

"I don't know exactly what I am going to tell her but she will have her family," her mother, Amanda Collins, 21, of Cheviot, said. "He did anything for her, anything. Every time he came to my house, he walked down to the corner store and would buy her a bag full of candy. She loves her dad very much."


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