BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — Of the six people killed in a shooting spree in Kalamazoo, three were from Battle Creek. Thursday, members of that community gathered to honor the victims.
“We are mourning as our other West Michigan communities are and we are affected by that series of events,” Battle Creek Mayor Dave Walters said.
A Thursday evening service at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church in Battle Creek was about the pain community members are feeling and the healing that lies ahead.
“We’ve come together this evening so that we could begin to process the tragedy we have experienced,” Pastor Chad Parmalee said.
Battle Creek’s Mary Jo Nye, 60, 68-year-old Barbara Hawthorne and 74-year-old Dorothy Brown were shot and killed outside the Texas Township Cracker Barrel Saturday night, along with 62-year-old Mary Lou Nye of Baroda.
One of the victims, retired teacher Mary Jo Nye, was a member of Chapel Hill United Methodist. One of her former students attended the service.
“She was a good person and a good teacher. She believed in helping the kids to get their work done. It’s going to be a great loss. We’re truly going to miss her,” Faith Sharp said.
Chapel Hill United Methodist will also hold a memorial service Sunday for Mary Joe Nye, according to her online obituary.
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Thursday’s service ended with a word from the pastor about those he called the unnamed victims: the family of the man charged with the shooting rampage that caused so much heartache.
“Jason Dalton’s family no more expected the violence that they encountered than we did,” Parmalee said.
Watch the entire service below. App users can click here to watch.
Abigail Kopf, 14, was also wounded during the shooting at the Cracker Barrel. She remained in critical condition Thursday, but her parents say she is showing signs of improvement. In a statement, they said she gave a thumbs up.
The shooting at the Cracker Barrel was the last of three Saturday. Rich Smith and his 17-year-old son, Tyler, were looking at cars in the lot of Seelye Ford Kia in Kalamazoo when they were shot and killed less than half an hour earlier.
The shootings started around 5:45 p.m. when Tiana Carruthers was shot several times outside Meadows Townhomes as she shielded her children from gunfire.