Hundreds ride to raise money for Kzoo shooting victims’ families, survivors

Hundreds of bikers came out to support the victims of the Kalamazoo Shooting Rampage and their families on Saturday (May 21, 2016).


PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) — A community motorcycle ride to raise money for the survivors and families of the victims in the Kalamazoo shooting rampage took place Saturday morning.

The Perry Harley Davidson Community Memorial Ride began at 11 a.m. at Perry Harley Davidson, located at 5331 S. Sprinkle Road in Portage. The event was open to the public. It cost $10 for a single rider and $15 with a passenger.

Hundreds of bikers came out to support the victims of the Kalamazoo Shooting Rampage and their families on Saturday (May 21, 2016).
Hundreds of bikers came out to support the victims of the Kalamazoo Shooting Rampage and their families on Saturday (May 21, 2016).

“We have over 400 bikes here as of now. This is a ride for the shooting victims that happened on February 20, for the six victims and the two survivors. We’re rallying for them. I can’t believe this happened in our community, we’re such a close-knit community,” said Randi Knill, a marketing manager and an event planner who helped organize the ride.

Some of the family members of the victims came to the fundraiser, including Abigail Kopf’s father, Gene, who directed traffic.

“It’s very reassuring to see the community stand up and support us. It shows one rotten person is outnumbered by a lot of good people. It’s nice to know that there are people behind us and it’s nice to know that there are just wonderful people in the world,” Gene Kopf said.

The Smith family was also in attendance with shirts and buttons to remember and honor Rich and Tyler Smith who were killed in the rampage.

“We’re just so thankful to the entire Harley and biker community because it’s not just Harley’s here today. This is awesome. It’s beyond whatever we would have dreamed for a tribute, a memorial to all the victims and survivors. What Perry’s has done by organizing this is just one in a million,” said Laurie Smith, the wife of Rich and mother to Tyler. “It’s just very much in stride with what we have experienced since the horrible tragedy happened. We’re just so thankful and it’s such a beautiful day. This is completely awesome. This is what my husband and I loved, loved. We loved participating in rides and hundreds of bikes and it’s just going to be really awesome when they take off.”

Top, left to right: Judy Brown, Barbara Hawthorne and Mary Jo Nye. Bottom, left to right: Mary Lou Nye, Rich Smith and Tyler Smith.
Top, left to right: Judy Brown, Barbara Hawthorne and Mary Jo Nye. Bottom, left to right: Mary Lou Nye, Rich Smith and Tyler Smith.

“I know my dad would have been proud of how well it turned out and I’m just sad that he can’t be here,” said Emily Smith, the daughter and sister to the victims.

Organizers said they had more than 400 motorcycles registered for the ride.

More than $6,500 was raised at the event. All proceeds will be distributed to the Kalamazoo shooting survivors and families of the victims through the Kalamazoo Community Foundation.

Left: Abigail Kopf. Right: Tiana Carruthers. (Undated courtesy photos)
Left: Abigail Kopf. Right: Tiana Carruthers. (Undated courtesy photos)

Six people were killed in the Feb. 20 shooting rampage: Mary Jo Nye, Mary Lou Nye, Dorothy Brown, Barbara Hawthorne, and father and son Rich and Tyler Smith.

Abbie Kopf, 14, and Tiana Carruthers, 25, were seriously injured and continue to recover.


Inside woodtv.com:

#KalamazooStrong: How you can help

Complete coverage of the Kalamazoo shooting rampage

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