Sheriff: Kalamazoo Victim Was Shot Saving Kids
Tiana Carruthers' actions 'were very courageous,' he says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2016 1:52 AM CST
The First Congregational Church holds a candlelight vigil in remembrance of the mass shooting victims in Kalamazoo, Mich.   (Bryan Bennett/Kalamazoo Gazette-MLive Media Group via AP)

(Newser) – As investigators try to piece together Saturday night's shooting rampage in Kalamazoo, Mich., the first person to be shot is emerging as a hero. Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller says Tiana Carruthers, a 25-year-old mother, was with several children outside an apartment complex when alleged gunman Jason Dalton approached her, Fox17 reports. She told the kids to run inside and was shot three times when he opened fire. "You look at where bullets ended, looking where the victims were and looking where the suspect vehicle was, I truly believe her actions were very courageous and likely led to the saving of some children's lives," the sheriff says. Carruthers was hospitalized with gunshot wounds in the shoulder, hip, and leg. Dalton, an Uber driver, went on to kill six people and critically injure another, police say.

Carruthers' grandmother, Phoenix Windwalker, tells the Detroit Free Press that Carruthers' actions were heroic. "The children were saved," Windwalker says. "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." She says her granddaughter has had two surgeries and has been told it could be as long as eight months before she can walk again. Police, who are still trying to uncover a motive for the shootings, say Dalton sideswiped a car after leaving the scene and switched to another vehicle, Reuters reports. (Uber has admitted receiving a complaint about Dalton before the shootings.)