Remembering in Kalamazoo: One Year Later

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. — One year ago, Kalamazoo was changed.

On the night of Feb. 20, 2016, six people lost their lives in a seemingly random shooting spree.

Richard and Tyler Smith were shot at the Kia dealership on Stadium Drive. Mary Jo Nye, Mary Lou Nye, Barbara Hawthorne and Judy Brown were killed later in their car at Cracker Barrel.

Photo from Kalamazoo Wings Facebook page

Photo from Kalamazoo Wings Facebook page

Abigail Kopf barely survived her injuries at the restaurant and is still undergoing major surgeries to replace part of her skull.

Tiana Carruthers was the first shooting victim that day and has recovered to speak publicly about the event.

The suspect in the shooting, Jason Dalton, is in custody, and is expected to be in court in coming weeks.

Tiana Carruthers

Tiana Carruthers

A memorial will be unveiled Monday night at a “Forever Strong” vigil at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo. The event is free to the public, though attendees are asked to RSVP ahead of time. Tickets can be reserved here.

Throughout the day, we’ll be catching up with those impacted by the events of one year ago. We’ll also take a look at how the Kalamazoo community has healed and has come together with being “Kalamazoo Strong”, which helped the area get through another tragedy just a few months later.

Monday evening, FOX 17 will be in Kalamazoo from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. with live interviews with Mayor Bobby Hopewell, Kalamazoo Police Chief Jeff Hadley, Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller and representatives from Kalamazoo Strong and others in the Kalamazoo community.

To see a recap of the day of February 20, 2016, watch the video below:

U.S. Representative Fred Upton released this statement for the one-year anniversary of the shootings:

“One year ago, a madman attempted to rip our community apart. These inexplicable actions reverberated across the country and brought to our corner of the state a level of pain we have never experienced before. But now, we stand together stronger than ever against hatred and violence.

“We remember the six victims snatched from our world far too soon: Mary Jo Nye, a well-respected English teacher; Barbara Hawthorne, a former Kellogg’s employee; Dorothy Brown, known in her neighborhood for her herb garden; Mary Lou Nye, a preschool and early childcare advocate; Tyler Smith, a well-liked student at Mattawan High School; and Richard Smith, a construction manager and loving father and husband.

“We also keep in our hearts and minds the two fearless survivors. Abigail Kopf, whose courage in the face of unimaginable pain serves as a daily reminder of bravery and hope, and Tiana Carruthers who selflessly put herself in harm’s way without thinking twice. We again thank our law enforcement and first responders who prevented this tragedy from being even worse.

“The pain of the past never fully recedes, but when we look to the horizon – to a bright new day – we are able to find hope and renewed spirit amongst our friends, neighbors, and fellow community members. On this day of solemn remembrance, we do not turn to the right nor to the left, but instead we turn from evil.”

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