Shooting claims life of local business owner

A small memorial was created in the parking lot at the Lobster Claw II restaurant in Derry, N.H.

DERRY, N.H. — A small floral memorial flanked by an American flag remains in place in the parking lot of Lobster Claw II restaurant a week after a shooting there took the life of one of the restaurant’s owners.

John Kratz Jr., 64, of Sandown was shot last week at the restaurant at 4 South Main St.

He was pronounced dead after being taken to Elliot Hospital in Manchester.

John Kratz, 27, of Candia was arrested and charged with the second-degree murder of his uncle and alleged to have “knowingly caused the death of Mr. Kratz Jr. by shooting him with a gun” according to a release from the state Attorney General’s Office.

An autopsy reported the cause of death to be a “gunshot wound to the head” and officially labeled a homicide.

Kratz was arraigned May 18 in Rockingham Superior Court and held without bail.

A motive for the killing remains unclear as the investigation continues.

The shooting took place about 5:48 p.m. on May 17.

Derry police arrived to find Kratz Jr. with a gunshot wound.

An investigation then led to the younger Kratz, who was later arrested on charges he shot and killed his uncle.

Many in the community quickly responded to the news of the shooting on social media, giving details of what they heard or saw.

Youth sports teams at a nearby park were sent home before an arrest was made.

Others saw police activity on a video that tapes footage at the Derry traffic circle, close to where Lobster Claw II is located.

But people mostly honored Kratz Jr., saying he always was kind and welcoming to his customers.

In the week since the shooting, some have stopped at the restaurant, that remained closed earlier this week, to pay respects.

Many left flowers in the parking lot, and a main sign at the business paid tribute to Kratz Jr., given by his brother, saying “R.I.P” my dear brother.”

Kratz Jr. shared ownership of the restaurant with his brother Lee Kratz.

Rick Metts, former owner of Clam Haven located not far from Lobster Claw II, said he dealt more with brother Lee than with John Jr., but added that he was a kind and helpful businessman in the community.

“The few times I interacted with him he seemed friendly and cordial,” Metts said. “As a customer, he treated me well and was pleasant whenever I would order and pick up food.”

An online GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family.

The page reads, “He loved his wife and son very much and was a dedicated family man. He cared deeply about taking care of his family. He was a hard worker and dedicated his whole life to being an upstanding, God loving husband, father and friend to many.”

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