Mother shot 3 times conscious; credited with saving lives
The lone survivor of a random shooting in Menasha is said to be awake, and is being credited with saving lives.
Erin Stoffel was shot three times Sunday night when Sergio Daniel Valencia del Toro, 27, opened fire in a park killing three others and himself. Stoffel’s husband, Jonathan, his 11-year-old daughter Olivia, and Adam Bentdahl, 31, of Appleton, were killed.
According to a GoFundMe page set up by the family, Erin is communicating through a dry erase board. She said her husband’s final words were “forgive the shooter.”
Theda Clark Medical Center spokeswoman Megan Mulholland said Stoffel was upgraded from critical to serious condition Tuesday.
Police said her quick thinking saved her other two young children and countless others at the park.
Police said del Toro got on his bike after his girlfriend and former fiancee left Sunday night and headed toward Trestle Trail armed with at least two handguns.
At about 7:30 p.m., del Toro shot all four victims unprovoked and at close range, according to police. He had no exchange with the victims before shooting, according to witnesses.
There are no connections between Bentdahl and the Stoffel family, according to police.
Jim Campbell is Erin Stoffel’s brother. He said Jonathan Stoffel loved the outdoors and the family enjoyed fishing, camping and hiking together. He described Olivia as very smart, saying she loved to observe nature.
Bentdahl’s family said in a statement Monday they are saddened by his senseless death. They said he was a kind and gentle person with a bright personality. They added they’re praying for the Stoffel family as well as del Toro.
Police said del Toro was taken to a hospital and died. A doctor at Theda Clark Medical Center said del Toro suffered a gunshot wound to the head.
Both guns were fired and recovered, according to police. They don’t know how many shots were fired.
Police said Erin Stoffel suffered gunshot wounds to her abdomen, right thigh and left hand and underwent emergency surgery. She was able to get herself and two other children, ages 5 and 7, off the bridge and told her son to run for help, according to police.
More than 100 people gathered Monday at Calvary Bible Church in Neenah. Olivia attended fifth grade at a school attached to the church. Her friend, 10-year-old Grace Demerath, cried and asked why Olivia had to die.
There were about 75-100 people in the area at the time of the shooting, prompting numerous calls to police. Police said del Toro walked by other people before firing at the victims.
WLUK-TV reports officials say the trail and park reopened Tuesday.
Del Toro was a second semester freshman at UW-Oshkosh and was in the Air Force. He recently re-enlisted in US Army and was scheduled to leave for basic training in June.
Police said del Toro had also begun training for the Menasha Police Auxiliary unit but was never supplied a firearm.
Police reported no past contacts with del Toro in regard to mental health issues. His ex-fiancee is cooperating with police.