Widow of San Bernardino Victim and Father of 6 Michael Wetzel: 'Without Him, the Family Will Never Be the Same'
"He was my best friend and an incredible father who was loved by all," Renee Wetzel said in a statement to PEOPLE
On Wednesday, Renee Wetzel wrote to friends in the Lil’ Mamas, a website support group for moms, asking them to pray for her husband Michael.
“Please pray. My husband was in a meeting and a shooter came in,” she wrote. “There are multiple people dead/shot. I can’t get a hold of him.”
Michael Wetzel, a father of 6, worked as a supervising environmental health specialist with San Bernardino County. He was in a meeting when two shooters opened fire at the Inland Regional Center, killing 14 people and wounding 21.
Eight hours after asking for prayers, Renee learned that her husband was among the dead. He was 37.
In an exclusive statement to PEOPLE Renee said: “We love Mike so much. He is my soulmate. He is an amazing man and he continues to live in our hearts. We are so grateful for all of the support and prayers.”
Michael leaves behind six children, ranging in age from an infant to a teenager. In an earlier statement, Renee shared: “Michael was the most amazing person. He was my best friend and an incredible father who was loved by all. I didn’t know a better person. He loved his work and his family so very much. Without him, this family will never be the same.”
A YouCaring fund set up by the Lil’ Mamas website, has raised over $235,000 to support Renee and the children.
“We appreciate all the love and support that everyone is showing,” the statement continued. “We ask that our privacy be respected during this terrible time.”
On Friday, the FBI announced that the mass shooting is now being investigated as an act of terrorism.