Teen shooting victim, once thought dead, is going home

A courtesy photo of Abigail Kopf. (March 25, 2016)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The 14-year-old girl who survived February’s random shooting spree in Kalamazoo will get to go home after spending six weeks in a rehabilitation facility.

Doctors told Abigail Kopf’s parents that they plan to release the teenager from Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids on Wednesday, April 20.

“She’s really looking forward to home-cooked meals,” said her mom, Vickie Kopf, who is also excited to head home to Battle Creek.

Vickie has been staying in a room near the hospital since Abbie transferred from Kalamazoo’s Bronson Hospital to Mary Free Bed on March 8.

Abbie will continue to be on a feeding tube, however, even after she returns home.

Her mom hopes they will have more success convincing Abbie to eat more than soft foods once they are back home. She is using the removal of the feeding tube as incentive for Abbie to regain her appetite as well.

The tube, which is inserted through the navel, has caused discomfort. She is also suffering recurring nausea and headaches.

The teenager still has a long road ahead, including reconstructive surgery to replace the portion of her skull that is missing.

Abbie’s Dad, Gene Kopf, told WOOD-TV that a Mary Free Bed doctor who specializes in rehabilitation of children with brain injuries will continue to oversee Abbie’s care — at least until she is 18.

In addition to challenges with eating, Abbie still struggles to speak at an audible level and has paralysis in her left arm.

Her dad says the path of the bullet impacted the portion of the brain that controls impulsivity and attention span.

Doctors told the family that Abbie will likely fatigue very easily and have some difficulty with coordination.

“There are still so many unknowns,” said Gene Kopf to WOOD.

The Kopfs say they continue to be grateful for the community’s prayers and support.

The family has launched a Facebook page where they are updating Abbie’s progress often. They’re also raising money through a GoFundMe page to help the family on Abbie’s long road to recovery.

A photo of Tiana Carruthers on March 8, 2016. (Courtesy Borgess Medical Center)
A photo of Tiana Carruthers on March 8, 2016. (Courtesy Borgess Medical Center)

On Thursday, Tiana Carruthers, the other survivor of the Kalamazoo-area shooting rampage, is expected to speak publicly for the first time. She will talk about her and thank members of the community for the outpouring of support.

The shooter, 45-year-old Jason Dalton, of Cooper Township, now faces 16 criminal charges, including six counts of murder. He killed father and son Rich and Tyler Smith at a car dealership in Kalamazoo, then open fire on five people at a restaurant in Texas Township. Four of the victims at the restaurant were killed: Mary Jo Nye, Mary Lou Nye, Judy Brown and Barbara Hawthorne.



Abigail Kopf’s Recovery GoFundMe account

Abbie’s Recovery Facebook page

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