Wilma Hochstetler, 40, and husband Jonathan Hochstetler of Bloomfield, Indiana, were attacked during a robbery at gunpoint that turned fatal — and witnessed by their 6-year-old son.
Late Thursday night, the couple had pulled over the side of the road when two men stopped, pulled out a gun and fatally shot Wilma, and injured Jonathan. The two own a commercial roofing company, and Jonathan was driving home from Indianapolis when a tire on his trailer blew out.
He called Wilma and requested her to drive him with a spare. She allegedly hit the road with both the spare tire and their son, Brandon.
After the two met up — Jonathan went to put the new tire on his trailer. Meanwhile, Wilma reportedly spotted two men lurking around and warned her husband.
“He opened up the passenger door of the truck and put his gun in there,” Jonathan’s father, Samuel Hochstetler, recalled of the shooter.
“Jonathan said, ‘Whoa, what’s going on?’ Then he came around the front and the other guy came around the back and they pulled out their guns on them and robbed them,” Samuel added.
The two men were walking away when they paused, turned around, and fatally shot Wilma.
“His wife just crumbled immediately. He knew right away she was dead,” Samuel said. The men then took the money and Wilma’s cellphone before shooting them, according to WTHR.
While Wilma died immediately, Jonathan took a bullet to the neck but did not die. He was, fortunately, able to get himself to the truck Wilma had driven and contacted 911 with his phone. Amazingly, Brandon was sitting in the truck throughout the entire incident.
“He’s telling us more and more of the story, you know,” Samuel told Fox 59.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police responded to a call about the incident about 1:30 in the morning.
Jonathan was rushed to the hospital, where he underwent two surgeries, one that evening to fuse three broken vertebrae together in his neck according to WTHR. In addition, he also has broken bones in his jaw and his face but is expected to make a full recovery.
Samuel goes on to say Jonathan does not hold anything against the men who hurt him and murdered his wife. The grandfather revealed to Fox 59 how Jonathan has “total peace” about what happened and said “I’m comfortable, I’m encouraged,” about the situation. “He said ‘I have no anger towards those men.'”
Samuel himself wrote a letter to the City of Indianapolis detailing his thoughts on what happened as well as shared it with the news station in an interview.
“Jesus says in Matthew 7, love your enemies, bless those that curse you, do good to them that hate you, pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you,” he said. “There’s another scripture in Romans that says God says vengeance is mine, I will repay. So vengeance belongs to God not to us.”
“There’s another verse that says be not overcome of evil but overcome evil with good,” he continued. “So we cannot allow this evil to overcome us, make us bitter and angry.” The grandfather agreed that he felt zero anger toward the men who hurt his family. “My son has thanked his heavenly Father over and over that he’s not paralyzed. I extend forgiveness towards the two murderers,” he added.
A GoFundMe page has been created to raise funds for Wilma’s funeral and to care for their children, Melissa, 16; Abigail, 14; Kendra, 10; and Brandon, 6.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.