TOWN OF NORWAY -- A small, normally quiet town in Racine is reeling more than 24 hours after a man and dog were murdered in their home. The suspect turned himself in more than 50 miles away from the alleged crime.
Family members of 40-year-old Chad Bickler cannot understand why this happened.
"I wish he could go through some of the pain we're going through," said Brian Johnson, Bickler's cousin.
Racine County investigators say 40-year-old Troy Hoffmann drove to the lakeside home off W. Loomis Road on Thursday night, Dec. 26. He crashed into a car parked in the driveway and opened fire on the house. Officials say Hoffmann then forced his way into the home, fired more shots, killing Bickler and his dog, Tucker.
Other family members were able to escape the attack. Bickler's brother was there for Chad's final moments.
"He got to hold his brother one last time and tell him he loves him and gave him a kiss and then he faded away right in his arms," Johnson said.
Police were seen at Hoffmann's New Berlin home on Friday. After a 20-hour-long manhunt, Hoffmann was found in the Village of Hustisford. Authorities say the owner of a laundromat, who is also a member of the village board, somehow came into contact with Hoffmann -- and walked with him to the police station was Hoffmann was placed under arrest. Hoffmann was later transferred to the Dodge County Jail.
Hoffmann's car was located behind the laundromat in an alley next to homes where residents say Hoffmann is a stranger to them.
"An hour and 20 minutes away drove up here and parked next to my house. Didn't know anything about that. It's a little alarming," said Karl Greeb, who lives in Hustisford.
Bickler and Hoffmann both worked at Engineered Security Solutions in New Berlin. A spokesperson said Hoffmann's employment has been terminated. Brian Bautz, Owner and CEO of Engineered Security Solutions, Inc. issued the following statement:
"We are devastated by this senseless tragedy and are praying for our colleague and his family. He was a friend, an outstanding performer, a trusted teammate and an all-around wonderful person. He will be greatly missed. We will do everything in our power to assist law enforcement with their investigation. In the meantime, we are working to support our colleagues as we all come to terms with this unimaginable loss."
Court records show Hoffmann was recently divorced -- and he has no criminal history.