KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD TV) — Officials from law enforcement and Borgess Medical Center held a news conference Tuesday afternoon to update the community on Tiana Carruthers’ condition.
Carruthers was one of the survivors of the Kalamazoo County shooting rampage that claimed the lives of six people. Abigail Kopf, 14, was also gravely injured in the shooting, but is also recovering.
Police have called Carruthers a hero after they said she shielded four children — her own child and children of friends and relatives — from gunfire at the Meadow Townhomes in Richland Township. She sustained four gunshot wounds to her legs, arm and right flank.
“One bullet had entered her left thigh and fractured her femur, and another had entered her right thigh and fractured that femur. A third shot hit her left arm fracturing her humerus and a fourth bullet traveled through the soft tissues of her right flank and lodged in her liver. Over the next few days, her fractures were repaired and her overall condition stabilized,” said Thomas Rohs, the trauma medical director and chief of staff at Borgess Medical Center.
Carruthers has been moved to a rehabilitation unit where she celebrated her 26th birthday on Monday and is making a remarkable recovery.
“She has progressed quite amazingly. She has walked short distances and is beginning to perform many of the necessary activities to daily living, independent living. Her mind is sharp and her will is strong. We do expect the process of healing to be fairly long, requiring six to 12 months for maximum recovery, although we do expect her to recover back to her full function,” said Rohs to WOOD TV.
Officials said she is very thankful for all of the support from the community that she has received.
“She is so grateful to be alive, grateful for all of the outpouring from the community for many people who don’t even know me, her words. Tiana sincerely appreciates the GoFundMe site sponsored by the Kalamazoo Foundation. The donations made by so many generous area residents are so wonderful and certainly not be treated as a contest between survivors. Tiana is also deeply happy about the positive reaction that has through many events or the past weeks shown positive solidarity in our community,” Ross said.
Ross said Carruthers believes she and the family of Abigail Kopf are in the process of healing together.
“She feels that the family of Abigail Kopf and hers have through their common experience become one and hopes that when she is released, that the two families can support each other and continue to be a positive force for change,” said Ross.
A member of Carruthers’ family told 24 Hour News 8 that he spoke to her Tuesday and she says she is “thankful for everyone in the community for their love and support.”
Family members also said they are having a benefit concert at the Galilee Baptist Church in Kalamazoo on March 18 for her.
Sheriff Richard Fuller with the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office said they are continuing to investigate the shootings and have not found any connections between any of the victims and the suspected shooter. However, he described Carruthers as a true hero.
“Her actions for what she did to take care of the people that day herself are nothing short of heroic. I have watched her become stronger and I was amazed by the very beginning how strong she got early on,” Fuller said.