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Haven Pharmacy, Site Of Medford Massacre, Set To Reopen For Business

Residents Glad Owner Will Help Community Take Next Step Toward Healing
A makeshift memorial at Haven Drugs - Medford, NY - Jun 22, 2011 (credit: Mike Xirinachs / WCBS 880)

A makeshift memorial at Haven Drugs – Medford, NY – Jun 22, 2011 (credit: Mike Xirinachs / WCBS 880)

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MEDFORD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It will soon be back to business for a Long Island pharmacy where four people were executed on Father’s Day.

On Thursday, CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan got a first look inside Haven Drugs, which will reopen Aug. 1.

PHOTOS: Medford Pharmacy Massacre

A cross dangled next to the steel security door, which was opened for the first time since the bloodbath, as the stark interior of the victimized pharmacy was revealed.

There were glimpses of the wooden shelves, which were emptied of 10,000 prescription hydrocodone pills by the killer.

There was the drug store counter the assassin jumped behind; the camera that rolled capturing video and audio of every horrible second of the massacre. There was the cramped aisle where four innocent people were executed. Bottles of hydrogen peroxide were stacked on the floor where they fell, next to the pharmacy diplomas and licenses.

Pharmacy owner Vinoda Kudchadkar — affectionately known as “Vinnie” — ducked away, still filled with raw emotion over that horrifying day, one prosecutors have called “the most cold-blooded robbery-homicide in Suffolk County history.”

The Shellman and Stecker families were among dozens who heard the big news that Kudchadkar wasn’t closing for good and moving away. He put the announcement on his phone line, saying 9 a.m. on Aug. 1 he’ll be back in business.

“I just told him everybody loves him. Everybody supports him. And it’s a family in this community,” Andrea Shellman said.

A family member said Vinnie was so overwhelmed with hundreds of touching calls and signs, begging him to stay and reopen that his spirit caved in, and he has now set about restocking, reordering, and getting ready for a difficult new chapter.

“It’s gonna be rough for him to start, but life has to go on and people want him back in the area,” Medford businessman Donald Prybyzerski said.

The Prybyzerski brothers knew some of the victims. Their repair shop is across from Haven Drugs. They watched on Father’s Day when Kudchadkar rushed to the crime scene and collapsed on the curb. They were among those convincing him not to give up and to do his best to erase memories of suspects David Laffer and Melinda Brady.

The reopening is exactly what Medford needs, said Michael Gorton, the president of the chamber of commerce.

“It’s a sign of the community healing. It took some time. I’m glad he is opening. We need to move in the right direction and try to put this tragedy behind us and move forward as a community,” Gorton said.

Kudchadkar was off on Father’s Day. His employees who lost their lives volunteered that day to work for him, so he could be home with his family. His customers said the rest of Vinnie’s life will dedicated to the victims.

Laffer and his wife Brady were arrested on June 22 in connection with the execution-style murders. Laffer has pleaded not guilty to five counts of first-degree murder and four counts of criminal use of firearms.

On Tuesday, Brady pleaded not guilty to upgraded robbery charges.

Brady said in a police statement that while she and her husband plotted the Father’s Day robbery at Haven Pharmacy, she did not know the plan involved killing.

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