Medford's Haven Drugs reopens

Haven Drugs reopens two months after four people -- two employees and two customers -- were fatally shot during what police say was a case of robbery of prescription painkillers. Videojournalist: Stringer News (July 25, 2011)

Haven Drugs reopens two months after four people -- two employees and two customers -- were fatally shot during what police say was a case of robbery of prescription painkillers. Videojournalist: Stringer News (July 25, 2011)

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Haven Drugs, the Medford pharmacy where four people were shot dead in a plot to steal thousands of painkillers last month, reopened Monday.

The memorial of flowers and mementos that adorned the sidewalk in front of the business until recent days was gone Monday.

Inside, many of the shelves in the front of the shop were either empty or held a handful of bottles and boxes. A few revolving stands for makeup and other items were empty.

A man behind the counter said the store had a "soft opening" as work and cleanup continued. The owner planned to make a statement Tuesday, he said.

"He's still very fragile," the man said of the owner, Vinoda Kudchadkar. "He's devastated and we're trying to do this the right way. The community has been very supportive."

David Laffer, 33, is charged with killing pharmacist Raymond Ferguson, 45; drugstore employee Jennifer Mejia, 17; and customers Jaime Taccetta, 33, and Bryon Sheffield, 71, in the June 19 robbery of about 10,000 hydrocodone pills.

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Laffer's wife, Melinda Brady, drove him to the drugstore, authorities said. She is charged with first-degree robbery.

A slow trickle of customers came and went Monday, stepping around workers installing an electric lock on the front door.

Deborah Eerland, 49, a bookkeeper and Haven customer for decades, said she got a message this morning from one of the owners about the reopening.

She called her return Monday to pick up a prescription "a little scary."

"I gave my husband a kiss and said, 'I'm going,' " she said.

Another customer, Jessica Trinca, 33, said she's known the owners and Mejia well.

After Laffer's arrest, Trinca learned that they'd graduated from high school together, though she didn't remember him. She said she was glad to return to Haven.

"It's not just the families of the victims," she said. "But everybody felt this. It just hits so close to home."

With Yamiche Alcindor

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