Ohio Amish shooting explained?

There has been a lot of speculation over the Holmes County Amish shooting.  Many have wondered about the lack of a bullet hole in the buggy, and the distance from which the gun was fired.

Over the weekend, reader Mary (not to be confused with Michigan Mary, who has also added details) shared some insights into the tragedy. Mary is a cousin of Rachel Yoder’s mother.

From Mary’s account:

I just came home from attending the funeral of Rachel in Ohio. I have the facts straight since I talked with both the victims family and also the father of the 28 yr. old single son who was unloading his musselloader gun in the evening after coming home from a hunt in W.V.

It is a long sad story but yes, it was an accident. The bullet traveled 1-1/4 mi. before hitting Rachel on top of her head. Since it was a very windy night they are assuming she had her head down to ward off the wind. 

How did the bullet hit Rachel without causing damage to the buggy?

The bullet came through the opening on the front end of the buggy which was not enclosed with a storm front.

Two of the major Holmes County Amish groups, the Swartzentruber Amish and the Andy Weaver Amish, do not use storm fronts, which are akin to car windshields, on their buggies.  As for the shooter, Mary adds:

The son who shot, along with his father, came to the victims family the morning after the funeral and apoligized profusely while weeping bitterly. The police encouraged them to wait but after telling him they need to go now, were allowed to go.

The family forgave, and they are still friends. Both familys are Amish. The shooter has a bro. who is on his deathbed this moment from a rare disease. We are praying for his family as well as my cousins family.

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    1. All I can say is WOW. It’s so terribly sad from all points and for all involved, I’d say. Lots of prayers for both families. I knew the details of this story would change and grow and get speculated upon, so it’s nice to hear plain and simple (no pun intended) what happened. Thanks for sharing that, Mary.

    2. Galen

      Amish shooting

      Thank you Mary for helping us piece all the facts together. It is a sad time for both of the families.
      I will be keeping them all in prayer.

    3. Lee Ann

      Thanks for helping to clear up everything. Im so sorry to hear about the other family with someone dear that is dying. That has to be twice as hard for that family at this time.

      If you can, please pass along my sympathy to both families.

    4. Marilyn from NY

      I feel both families in my heart. The son who shot was brave to go to the family. The family were so kind to forgive even though it is the Amish way. I am a Christian Englisher and I wonder if that man had shot someone in my family by accident-would I be so forgiving. I hope I would be.

    5. Karen Pollard

      Amish Shooting

      I have been following this story as well. Tragic, isn’t it? I pray for the young man whose gun went off because he will have a very difficult time dealing with this for the rest of his life.

      I was so concerned, at first, that it was part of the original Amish charges against the sect who were terrorizing other Amish families.

      Very relieved it was an accidental shooting.

    6. Robert in MI

      A time to re-think Storm Fronts?

      I do not know if a storm front would have fully protected her, but the impact likely would have been slightly less and the wound may have been superficial as her head may not have been down to protect it from the wind. Non-the-less as a Christian Englisher from MI, I respectfully question the decision not to have storm fronts, they are not mechanical, and they are as similar to the weather protection offered by acceptable house windows as to that offered from out of favor auto windshields. We all know that this loved child will be tearfully missed beyond description. Perhaps this storm front issue could be rethought to prevent any similar future tragedies.

    7. Alice Mary

      Sympathy to all

      It’s very sad when freak accidents like this occur. My prayers and sympathies go out to all involved, including the grievously ill brother of the shooter.

      May the Amish principle of forgiveness bring peace to all. We can all surely sympathize with both sides.

      Alice Mary

    8. D Yoder

      Yes forgiveness can bring peace to all.

      But for those that know the shooters father and brothers this also needs to be said.

      You may also reap what you sow. Lets hope that from the reaping there is true repenting and hearts changed instead of becoming bitter and continuing into future generations.

      This should be a teachable moment as to the choices one makes in life.

      Speaking for myself and others we also need to forgive them and pray that hearts will be changed.

    9. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      How I can relate to this

      I’m glad this information was brought out into the open. I am also glad the two families have come together and did what they did.

      Not entirely the same to this story, but when I was in elementary school I was bullied for a couple of years. A minor perpetrator was a young boy who had a lot going for him, artistic ability, good at everything in school, generally popular, athletic, on the last aspect I thought maybe he could have made a go at his chosen sport and become at least semi-professional at it. Since he was a minor player in my torment, I forgot about him, I guess part of me forgave him his childish cruelty as one generally tends to do.

      By the time I got into my first year at college I met up with a girl I was friends with from my old neighborhood, I was in different high schools than a lot of my bullies where so I had lost track of most of those people. My friend and I sat in the food court like area at campus and talked about different people and what they where up to during high school and the few months since high school graduation. She then told me about this one boy.

      “He was shot” she said sadly and with a little anger, but not directed at me.
      “Gosh, I hope he recovered well, or is recovering well depending on when it happened.” I said while thinking that would teach him a lession about not being the tough guy he used to think he was.
      “He didn’t, he was shot dead.” Then she explained that he was [now I may have this wrong because of the space of time and the fact that I don’t remember exactly what she said] involved in drugs and gang activity.

      My heart sank for him, I didn’t like his participation in what the bullies did to me, but for his life to end no later than his late teens I felt it was tragic and unfair for him, I never wished that on him or any of them. Like I said I did for the most part (although I didn’t say so) forgive him in his participation for bullying me, part of me wish he had made better decisions for himself. In my way I think I prayed for his killer, who ever it was, and surely I prayed for his family who lost their son, my family sort of knew them, our homes weren’t great distances apart.

      Anyway I’m rambling, I think my spiritual self forgave him and I grieved for him as a person I knew and not hatefully and grudgingly as someone I might have momentarily hated. Everyone forgives differently at differently during different points of their lives.

      Thank you for your patience with me on this. I just wanted to share my story of indirect forgiveness in my life.