The first victim of the Kalamazoo shooting was shot multiple times trying to shield children playing outside an apartment complex, putting herself between the young ones and alleged gunman Jason Dalton’s line of fire.
Tiana Carruthers, 25, was reportedly outside the Meadows Townhomes with a group of children, including one of her own, when Dalton allegedly drove up about 5:40 p.m. Saturday and asked, “Have you seen Mazie?”
It was not clear who Mazie is, or why the shooter asked about him or her.
Sensing trouble, the mother sent the children inside as quickly as possible, Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller told reporters.
Dalton, a 45-year-old Uber driver, had reportedly come to the apartment complex earlier in the day and spoke with children.
“She said, ‘Is there something I can do for you? Can I help you?’” 12-year-old Joi Coleman, who was outside with Carruthers, told WWMT.
Dalton allegedly then began shooting, firing 10 rounds, authorities said.
“He shot her one and she was still running and then he shot her again and she fell. She was asking ‘Joi, help me. Joi, help me,’” the child said.
His fusillade hit the mom three times in the legs and arms as her horrified daughter watched on from a window, witnesses said. She reportedly has a bullet lodged in her kidney.
“The little girl ran to the window and kept yelling, ‘My mom is dead! My mom is dead!’” Meghan Coleman, another child who was shot at, told WWMT.
But the brave woman was able to give deputies a description of the man who shot her and is expected to survive, having undergone multiple surgeries to treat her many injuries.
Witnesses said the shooter came back four times.
It was the beginning of a rampage that officials say lasted hours and saw six dead and two wounded in total, all while he allegedly went on to pick up car service fares through the Uber app.
Carruthers also positively identified Dalton in a police lineup after he was arrested early Sunday, MLive.com reported.
Dalton was charged with six counts of murder, two counts of assault with intent to commit murder and eight charges of using a firearm during the commission of a felony, officials said.
He made his first court appearance on Monday and chose to remain silent. His bail was denied and he is expected to next appear in court on March 3.