The Trestle Trail shooting: one year later


    This composite image shows victims of the May 3, 2015 shooting on the Trestle Trail in Menasha: Erin and Jon Stoffel, their daughter Olivia (photos courtesy ThedaCare) and Adam Bentdahl (photo courtesy Bentdahl family)

    A somber anniversary in our area as people remember the lives lost one year ago on Menasha's Trestle Trail bridge.

    Three people were shot and killed, before the shooter turned the gun on himself.

    It's something family members, the community, and first responders still remember vividly in their minds.

    Out on the Fox Cities Friendship Trestle Bridge is where the shooting unfolded a year ago Tuesday.

    A small bunch of flowers marks a memorial to those who died, but rescue workers who responded that day told FOX 11 the memory is burned into their minds.

    The scene at the Trestle Trail Tuesday evening was far different than a year ago.

    "The minute I saw that I thought, 'oh my God, this is bad,'" said Town of Menasha-Village of Fox Crossing Police Officer Jason Weber.

    Police lights flashed, covering Fritse Park in blue and red as rescue workers from several agencies responded

    Three victims were killed. They were Jon Stoffel, his daughter Olivia and Adam Bentdahl.

    The shooter, Sergio Valencia del Toro, shot and killed himself.

    Weber told FOX 11 it didn't seem real then and still doesn't now.

    "It's still hard to believe, you know? It's still hard to believe something like that happened," he told us.

    Menasha Police Chief Tim Styka said the shooting hit responders particularly hard.

    "It was so random. It could've been me, it could've been you, it could've been your nextdoor neighbor," he explained.

    Chief Styka told FOX 11 it's been a long and difficult healing process. In fact, he says, some officers have not been able to come back to Fritse Park or the Trestle Trail yet.

    "You're not gonna catch them there fishing over the weekend, when they're off. It's still too raw and too bitter for them," he told us.

    The officers said something good about that night is how the different agencies were able to work well together.

    "We train regularly, routinely for these praying to God it never happens and we never have to use it, but it really showed that night," explained Weber.

    "The plans we had in place worked out. I think we take that as a positive," added Styka.

    They said another positive is how the community came together after the shooting..

    "It was an amazing thing to show how people were not gonna be deterred based upon the events that took place there," Styka told FOX 11.

    You can see the determination to remember and honor the victims in memorial mosaics along the trestle

    "It's something I don't think anybody's ever gonna forget," said Weber.

    Adam, Jon and Olivia, three names that won't be forgotten either.

    RELATED STORIES


    News In Photos

      Loading ...