Family members of Kalamazoo victims testify in Lansing for alert system

Posted at 2:15 PM, Apr 12, 2016

LANSING, Mich. - Family members of victims from the mass shooting in Kalamazoo testified in Lansing Tuesday about legislation that could have alerted the public on the shooting threat.

Testimony was heard today in the Anderson House Office Building in Lansing.  State Representatives Brandt Iden and Jon Hoadley have proposed legislation that would create a public alert system to warn people of events like active shooter situations.

Six people were killed and two were seriously wounded in the February 20 shooting rampage.  Jason Dalton is in custody, charged with the murders.  He is undergoing competency exams to see if he is able to stand trial.

Tuesday in Lansing, Laurie and Emily Smith testified about the night of the shooting.  Richard Smith, and his son Tyler, were killed at a car dealership during the shootings.  Laurie was Richard's wife and Tyler's mother.  Emily was Richard's daughter and Tyler's sister.

The shooting began early in the evening at the Meadows Townhomes where Tiana Carruthers was shot while shielding kids on a playground.  She was seriously injured and is still recovering.  Richard and Tyler Smith were shot a few hours later on Stadium Drive. Laurie and Emily Smith testified that if an alert had been in place, Richard and Tyler would still be alive.

Four others, Mary Jo Nye, Mary Lou Nye, Dorothy Brown and Barbara Hawthorne, were killed a short time later at the nearby Cracker Barrel restaurant parking lot.  Abigail Kopf, 14, was critically wounded at that location.

Also testifying today were Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller, Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting, Sgt. Timothy Fitzgerald of the Michigan State Police and Kim Nolan of Oshtemo Township.