On Wednesday, May 31, dealer Rick Ford stood in the showroom of Nissan of Greenville (Texas) assessing the damage as a crime-scene cleanup company worked to sanitize the store after a shootout the previous day left three dead.
It was hardly the way he had expected to close the month. Trying to get the store back to normal, he worried about counseling traumatized staff and reassuring shoppers.
Ford was about 15 minutes from the Nissan store on Tuesday evening, May 30, when he got a shocking call from his general manager.
Just minutes earlier, about 15 to 20 customers and employees ran and dove for cover amid what the police later said were 20 gunshots fired during a two-minute shootout that left three people dead on the showroom floor.
No employees or customers were killed.
"In my 36 years in the business, this is the first time I've ever been involved in a situation like this," Ford told Automotive News. "It was an absolute miracle that no innocent bystanders were hurt."
The dealership wanted to reopen the service department on Friday and the showroom on Monday, June 5, but later pushed both to Monday. Ford, who is CEO of RFJ Auto Partners Holdings Inc. of Plano, Texas, the dealership group that owns the store, worried about the incident's impact on his employees and customers, especially in light of the massive local media coverage.
"It's purely coincidence that this happened here. This could have happened at Starbucks or any other retail location," said Ford. "We're formulating how we're going to communicate to our customers and the public at large to let them know that that's the case."
Ford wanted customers to know that no dealership employees were involved in the shooting.