An ABC 20/20 special aired on Feb. 22 detailing the tragedy and aftermath of a Kalamazoo shooting that killed six people in February 2016.
Jason Dalton, an Uber driver in Kalamazoo went on a rampage Feb. 20, 2016 killing six and injuring two. This January, Dalton plead guilty to six counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and eight counts of felony use of a firearm. This shooting left Kalamazoo citizens in shock that such a tragic event occurred so close to home.
The nature of this shooting prompted ABC to do a special on the case, going into great detail of the event. The special sat down with families of the victims as well as the two survivors. The special left Kalamazoo residents and Western students in shock as they relived the tragic event in such grave detail.
“The details of this story are much more disturbing than anybody being notified of a shooter on the loose could possibly imagine,” Sydney Haskin, a sociology and criminal justice major, said.
Dalton’s first victim was Tiana Carruthers, then 25. He shot her at her apartment complex several times, Carruthers shielding bullets from her daughter and other neighborhood children. She was severely injured and the doctors did not expect her to survive. During Dalton’s trial she confronted him face to face.
“My reaction to Tiana is that she’s a hero. She even braved facing him in court which must have been so traumatic especially with him acting up,” Nicole Allen, criminal justice major, said.
Carruthers was one of two who survived the attack, the other being then 14-year-old Abigail Kopf. Dalton opened fire into a car with Kopf and her family friend, killing Barbara Hawthorne and shooting Kopf in the head. She sat down and talked about her memories of the night as well as her miraculous recovery that no one thought would happen.
“I think everyone following this story was rooting for Abby’s survival,” Haskin said. “Her survival gave people something to be happy about, and for that I am so grateful. Everyone needed a piece of good news.”
Overall Western students were shocked that an event of this caliber happened so close to campus.
“I was saying to myself while watching the video, ‘Thank God he (Dalton) did not go to Western,’" Magdalene Asamoah, a criminal justice major, said.
“The day all this happened, I remember being at home with a friend, five minutes away from the Cracker Barrel where Jason took many lives and feeling a cold chill come over me when I heard the news about what was going on,” Sarah Cabriales, criminal justice major, said.
The seemingly random nature of this event shocked many because there seemed to be no discernable reason driving Dalton in committing the murders.
“Perhaps the most shocking thing to me was the fact that Jason Dalton killed these individuals in cold blood. Normally, a person kills another person for a specific reason and at least knows the victim as an acquaintance, but Dalton was literally shooting random people in random locations,” John Hager, criminal justice and behavioral science major, said.
“Often when a tragedy occurs it is in a place you don't recognize. It is quite jarring to think about this happening in the same place that I call home for nine months of the year,” Makenzie Kuhns, a biochemistry and criminal justice major, said.
Dalton was sentenced to life in prison for the crimes he has committed in Kalamazoo.