Fifteen-year-old Rachel Yoder was killed in Holmes County, Ohio last December when an Amish hunter fired his weapon into the air from over a mile away. Rachel was hit in the head while driving her buggy home from a Christmas gathering.

The news is that Marion Yoder, the shooter, will be charged with reckless homicide. If convicted the 28-year-old faces the possibility of several years in prison.

At the time reader Mary, who attended Rachel’s funeral and spoke with both families, shared the following:

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.

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

This story evoked a lot of discussion, speculation, and criticism of the practice of discharging weapons into the air.  After this story broke I remember reading several accounts of similar incidents occurring during New Year’s celebrations for example.

Firing a weapon into the air in a rural area is not as dangerous as doing the same thing in the middle of a city, but as this story shows can still have tragic consequences.

Mary also shared this about the shooter and his family:

The son who shot, along with his father, came to the victim’s family the morning after the funeral and apologized 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 families are Amish. The shooter has a brother who is on his deathbed this moment from a rare disease. We are praying for his family as well as my cousin’s family.


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