Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Monday 26 July |
Saint of the Day: Sts Joachim and Anne
home iconNews
line break icon

Mother Takes Three Bullets Protecting Her Children From Gunman

gofundme

John Burger - published on 05/05/15 - updated on 06/07/17

Quick-thinking mom got kids away from scene, but she lost husband and daughter

As Mother’s Day approaches, a community in Wisconsin is hailing the herorism of a local woman in protecting her children, even as her family and friends are grieving the loss of her husband and a daughter.

"You can never underestimate the power of a mother to protect her children," said a physician at Theda Clark Medical Center in Menasha, where Erin Stoffel is recovering from gunshot wounds.

Stoffel took three bullets as she struggled to shield her children from a crazed gunman, who then shot and killed himself. Sadly, her husband, Jon, 33, and daughter, Olivia, 11, were killed. An unrelated pedestrian also was killed. 

The young family of five was taking a customary Sunday evening bike ride across a bridge over Little Lake Butte des Morts when a 27-year-old man apparently upset after an argument with his ex-fiancee showed up with two handguns. He seemed to not know the victims but opened fire randomly.

Stoffel shuffled her 7-year-old son, Ezra, and 5-year-old daughter, Selah, off the pedestrian bridge, CNN said. With the perpetrator still firing, she then sent Ezra to get help.


"Despite being shot multiple times, Ms. Stoffel was able to … (instruct) her young son to go run for assistance," said Menasha Police Chief Tim Styka. "Absolutely amazing."

Barry Busby, the Winnebago County coroner, also praised her quick thinking.

"True heroes going into an act of fire, where they don’t know what’s out there on this unprotected bridge, but trying to save other people," Busby said. "And I think their fast response helped save a lot of people."

"To have three gunshot wounds and be able to get off that bridge and save two of her children is incredible to think about," said Dr. Ray Georgen at Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah said Monday. "It’s an amazing story of heroism on her part and certainly of her children."

By Tuesday evening, a GoFundMe campaign had raised over $103,000 for the family. 

Tags:
Motherhood
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
morning
Philip Kosloski
This morning prayer is easy to memorize
2
Daniel Esparza
5 Curious things you might not know about Catholicism
3
Joachim and Anne
Philip Kosloski
Did Jesus know his grandparents?
4
ORGAN
J-P Mauro
Reconstructing a 12th-century pipe organ discovered in the Holy L...
5
MACHAERUS
Daniel Esparza
3 Legendary pilgrimages off the beaten path
6
ŁACINA
Philip Kosloski
Why is Latin the official language of the Church, instead of Aram...
7
SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been know...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.