Family remembers shooting victim, mother of 3 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Family remembers shooting victim, mother of 3

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

A family is saying their final goodbyes this weekend after a mother of three was killed in Cedar Rapids. 33-year-old Heidi Stephens was shot Thanksgiving week and died shortly after.

Cedar Rapids Police say 24-year-old Zackary Ildefonso was arrested for first degree murder after allegedly shooting Stephens.

"She was in a coma, she never woke up and Wednesday she was pronounced dead," said Trent Hoppe, Waterloo

Hoppe, Stephens' brother, says he's still trying to process what happened.

"I don't know if I ever really started the grieving process, which it will be quiet a while I'm sure," said Hoppe. "I don't know if it's all sunk in, I know Thanksgiving will never be the same and life in general will never be the same."

Stephens had three children, two boys and a girl. Her brother says her children were all younger than 12-years-old, the youngest was only three.

"She was so happy just to be alive, it didn't matter what was going on around her...it didn't matter what the weather was or anything, she was just happy to be alive," said Hoppe.

Hoppe says he believes his sister knew the man who allegedly shot her.

"From the story I got, a man had stole her purse while she was sleeping, she woke up to find it gone and found out who the man was and she went to confront him...and when she did he pulled a gun and starting shooting," said Hoppe.

Police say Stephens was shot and taken to St. Luke's Hospital with life-threatening injuries, where she was later declared brain dead.

"She was shot in the brain stem so her body was immediately paralyzed, she was immediately in a coma," said Hoppe. "So there was no brain activity at all..they said she was gone." 

The arrest of Zackary Ildefonso has brought the family some closure.

"I am glad he was arrested and I hope he spends a lot of time behind bars," said Hoppe. "Personally I hope he doesn't see daylight again for what he did and what he caused."

Hoppe says his family decided to keep Stephens on life support for two days after she was declared brain dead so they could donate her organs. He says they've even received thank you cards from the people her organs saved.

According to family funeral services will be held tomorrow at Linwood Murdoch Funeral Home at 1:00 pm. The family also created a Gofundme page to help with funeral costs.

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