Kalamazoo Sheriff on Carruthers: ‘I truly believe her actions were very courageous’

Posted at 8:01 PM, Feb 23, 2016

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Amid the tragedy that struck Kalamazoo Saturday night, claiming the lives of six innocent people, a hero emerged. According to police, a mother who was walking with children used her body to shield them from gunfire.

Her name is Tiana Carruthers.

“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,” said Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller.

Police said she was walking home with children after enjoying the afternoon at the park. That’s when the gunman approached and engaged her in a brief conversation.

“The suspect’s activities changed where at some point she decided to tell the children to run,” said Fuller. “Then she stayed behind the children and that’s when the suspect opened fire.”

Police said the gunman shot her multiples times in front of her home in a housing complex. When detectives arrived on the scene, they immediately taped off her home and the adjacent parking lot. As for Carruthers, she was immediately rushed to the hospital. Fuller said she’s undergone surgery more than once since the shooting.

“She’s in the hospital and the hospital is just trying to take care of their patient, which I greatly appreciate,” said Fuller. “They’re trying to keep her comfortable and on the road to recovery because her road is going to be a long road.”

Fuller said that he and Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell keep in constant contact with family. They both are asking everyone to respect the family's wish for privacy during this difficult time. The mother released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying in part “We appreciate every prayer and tender thought extended to us.”

“They were thankful as well a they send condolences to everyone elses families,” said Fuller. “They have great, heavy hearts right now because they recognize that this is a community in pain.”