Lattin's needs our support

The community must rally around Carolyn Lattin and her family business on Rich Road.

Lattin’s Country Cider Mill was the scene of a horrible shooting last week.

Employee Kay Langford burst through the door of the barn where Lattin and other workers were preparing for the day. Langford had already been shot once when Roy Franco, 54, Langford’s former boyfriend entered, carrying a sawed-off shotgun. Lattin grabbed Franco’s arm and shirt in an attempt to give Langford time to run away. But Franco, according to court papers, knocked Lattin down and fatally shot Langford.

Sheriff deputies said Franco returned to his vehicle where he shot himself in the face in an apparent suicide attempt. He was hospitalized but is expected to survive and face murder and assault charges.

Lattin’s Country Cider Mill is an iconic business in South Sound. It would be a tragedy heaped upon tragedy if this incident kept customers away.

Lattin’s, which is famous for its apple fritters, cider, vegetables, pies and other homemade goodies, is an integral part of this community. Carolyn Lattin, her family members and workers have worked tirelessly to build the business and make it the wonderful place it is for families.

Kids can pet goats and interact with other farm animals. The pumpkin patch is legendary, as are the hay rides and other festivities associated with Applefest, Lattin’s annual fall celebration.

The truth be told, the murder of employee Kay Langford couldn’t have come at a worse time. This is the fall harvest season when Lattin’s earns a lion’s share of its annual income. If customers don’t patronize the business, Lattin’s will struggle. Already we’ve heard that one school class has canceled its annual trip to the pumpkin patch.

That’s unfortunate.

A homicide can happen anywhere — anywhere an employee is dealing with domestic violence issues. The ironic thing is, this murder happened at one of the most peaceful and serene settings in Thurston County — a rural farm where the owners and employees treat their patrons like family.

The best way for this community to thank Carolyn Lattin for her incredible service to families is to stop by the Country Cider Mill and spend a few dollars for fresh doughnuts, Carolyn’s award-winning cider and a pumpkin or two for Halloween.

Carolyn risked her life in an effort to save an employee’s life. The least the community can do is help Carolyn, her employees and her business recover.