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Victim, suspect in deadly Wind Lake home invasion were co-workers

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RACINE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- After a deadly home invasion in Racine County, CBS 58 is learning more about the connection between the victim and the suspect who turned himself into authorities.

“This could not have happened to a better guy."

Emotional words from Brian Johnson, cousin of victim Chad Bickler. 

Bickler was shot and killed during a home invasion Thursday night in Wind Lake, an area unfamiliar to horrific crimes like this.

“It happened in Wind Lake. I could not believe that, you know? This is like our little, nice little drive out of West Allis or the Milwaukee area," Johnson said.

The Racine County Sheriff’s Office said the suspect, 40-year-old Troy Hoffmann turned himself into authorities in Hustisford, and was taken to the Dodge County Jail. Court records reveal no previous criminal history for Hoffmann.

“I wish he could go through some of the pain that we’re going through," Johnson said.

CBS 58 also confirmed that Bickler and Hoffmann were coworkers at Engineered Security Solutions, Inc. in New Berlin.

Brian Bautz, the company’s owner and CEO, sent this statement to CBS 58:  

"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."

Bickler’s cousin said the victim’s brother was one of the last people to see him alive.

“He got to hold his brother one last time, and tell him he loved him and gave him a kiss and then he faded away right in his arms," Johnson said.

Bickler's family has set up a GoFundMe for funeral, and other related expenses. If you would like to donate, click here.


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