Victim of Wisconsin shooting’s last words: ‘Forgive the shooter’

Jonathan Stoffel, his wife Erin and their 11-year-old daughter Olivia Stoffel were shot at random on the Trestle Trail Bridge. (WBAY Photo)
Jonathan Stoffel, his wife Erin and their 11-year-old daughter Olivia Stoffel were shot at random on the Trestle Trail Bridge. (WBAY Photo)

MENASHA, Wisc. (WBAY) – Mourners are paying respects to the victims of Sunday’s shooting in Menasha by leaving flowers, letters and stuffed animals at Fritse Park, the scene of a tragedy that rocked the community.

As the community bonds in the face of tragedy, we’re learning more about a family bonded by faith through the final moments.

Jonathan Stoffel, his wife Erin and their 11-year-old daughter Olivia Stoffel were shot at random on the Trestle Trail Bridge.

The shooter, Sergio Valencia del Toro, turned the gun on himself.

Jonathan and Olivia did not survive the shooting. Erin Stoffel remains hospitalized.

A fundraising page set up for the Stoffels posted a message Monday, relaying the powerful last words Jonathan Stoffel said to his wife:

The family would like to make it known that Erin said Jon’s last words to her after he was shot were, “Forgive the shooter.” We truly love because Christ first loved us. This was the heart of a man who walked the talk — his dying breath and last wish was only that his wife forgive the gunmen.

The GoFundMe page says Erin Stoffel is conscious and communicating by writing on a dry erase board. She can’t speak because she has a breathing tube.

The shooting also claimed the life of 31-year-old Andy Bentdahl of Appleton. Bentdahl’s family released a statement saying he was a “kind and gentle person with a bright personality.” The Associated Press reports the Bentdahl family says they are praying for the Stoffel family and del Toro.

Town of Menasha officials say they’ll allow people to put items for a memorial in the center pavilion of the Trestle Trail Bridge once it reopens. The walking bridge is undergoing a safety inspection and could reopen Tuesday.

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