The owner of the Medford pharmacy where four people were killed by a gunman was among those paying their respects at the wake of the slain pharmacist Wednesday -- and he's unnecessarily blaming himself for the tragedy, the pharmacist's widow said.
"I feel very bad for him because he takes it personally," Viedya Sabrina Quail-Ferguson said of the owner of Haven Drugs, Vinoda Kudchadkar. "He feels very responsible. He's not. I can't speak for the other victims, but I know myself and family members do not hold him personally responsible for anything. This was out of his control. He is an amazing person, [it's] an amazing pharmacy to work at. They were like family there."
She said the owner feels guilty, "but I told him it's not your fault."
Quail-Ferguson said she was late arriving to her husband's wake Wednesday afternoon in Farmingdale because she was flipping through news channels to listen to reports of the arrest of David Laffer.
She said friends were calling with the news saying, "They got him. They got him.'"
A short time later she said a Suffolk detective called.
"It was great to have the confirmation," Quail-Ferguson said as she toyed with a black and white scarf draped over the jacket of her black pant suit, as about 20 or so guests filled the chapel in an adjacent room where her husband's body lay in a coffin, surrounded by photos of the couple.
While she said she's heard others say the killer should be "fried," she feels differently.
"You can't take back a life. I don't wish him harm," she said of the suspect. She was glad he was captured and wouldn't be able to hurt anyone else. And she made it abundantly clear he should never walk the streets again
She also expressed dismay the suspect acted in such a "cold-blooded" way. From what she's heard about the case, "he just shot, shot...He just shot the two employees, then turned on the customers."
Police have said the victims offered no resistance.
Quail-Ferguson said as a nurse, she understood addiction and how it could alter one's behavior. But she still found it incredible the killer could have acted that way when he could've just simply taken the drugs and run away.
As the couple prepared to celebrate their 10th anniversary, Quail-Ferguson said they had reached the point in their lives where "we could start enjoying our life. We worked hard in our 20s and 30s on our education and established our careers to now be able to give our families the best."
She called her husband a kind, gentle and "peaceful man," comments echoed by friends and relatives at the wake. Sharon Smith, who said she worked with Ferguson at his full-time job at Waldbaum's Pharmacy in Melville, said of Ferguson: "He always had nice things to say about people. Any customer could go to him and ask him anything."
Another Waldbaum's employee, Diane Reeves, said Ferguson "always had a smile on his face. He was very understanding."
And a woman who would only give her first name, Robin, said she was a customer who regularly talked to Ferguson. "He was a very caring man and he went above and beyond his duty as a pharmacist," inquiring about "your health and families," asking questions and "patiently waited for your answers."
"He was just a good man," Robin said.