The first victim shot by alleged Kalamazoo gunman Jason Brian Dalton has been called a hero after she used her body to shield several children from harm.
USA Today reports Tiana Carruthers, 25, is currently recovering in a local hospital after she was shot three times by the gunman Saturday afternoon. Carruthers was at a park near her apartment in the Richland Township complex with her daughter, niece, and three other children when Dalton, an Uber driver, reportedly motioned her to his vehicle. After asking if she knew a woman named “Maisey,” he shot her in the shoulder.
Carruthers turned around and told the children to run. She was then shot in the leg and the hip. The gunman reportedly continued his shooting rampage a few hours later, killing six and injuring two, including a 14-year-old girl. On Monday, Dalton was arraigned on six murder charges and 10 other felony counts.
Phoenix Windwalker, Carruthers’ grandmother, told reporters that her granddaughter has always looked out for others.
Via USA Today:
“The children were saved,” Windwalker said. “Her 7-year-old daughter saw her get shot, along with her niece and the three other children.
She saved the children by doing what she did, which was really courageous for her and I’m proud of her, but I feel so, so sorry for her. It’s just not fair.”
“I feel that he should get the death penalty,” Windwalker said. “Death is not right, but he killed six innocent people and injured two people and almost killed five children. …I believe in God and I believe if you do something wrong, you deserve to get punished. He does not deserve to have life. He needs to be put out of his misery. I can forgive him, but the way I feel when a person goes out and takes a person’s life in cold blood … It’s an eye for an eye.”
On Tuesday, police revealed Dalton didn’t have a history of mental illness. The questionable details surrounding the shooting – including the inquiry for “Maisey,” phone calls, and the purchase of a heavy duty jacket and gun – have yet to produce any leads or motive.
Carruthers’ family released a statement through Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell, thanking everyone for their prayers and well wishes. Via WZZM:
“Our hearts reach out to all families touched by this senseless tragedy.
We appreciate every prayer and tender thought extended to us. We also offer special thanks to our law enforcement teams, EMS professionals and the doctors and nurses who are providing us compassionate care.”
Dalton was denied bail on Monday.