Tiana Carruthers: Where is Jason Dalton’s Survivor Now?

The events of the Kalamazoo shootings in February 2016 unfolded with the initial attack on Tiana Carruthers, setting the stage for Jason Dalton’s shooting rampage that claimed six lives and left two injured. The scars of that day continue to linger in the community, especially for those directly affected. Despite Dalton’s imprisonment with a life sentence, devoid of parole possibilities, the survivors have demonstrated remarkable resilience and courage, actively working to rebuild their lives. Tiana Carruthers, who participated in ABC’s ’20/20: The Deadly Ride,’ emerged as a symbol of strength, embodying the spirit of overcoming adversity. As the community grapples with the aftermath, these stories of recovery and fortitude stand as testaments to the human capacity to endure and triumph over tragedy.

What Happened to Tiana Carruthers?

On the evening of February 20, 2016, around 5:30 pm, Tiana Carruthers, then 25 years old, observed her daughter, Kaniya, and other children playing outside their apartment complex in the Meadows Townhomes in Richland, Michigan. At approximately 5:44 pm, a vehicle pulled up beside her. The man in the car inquired if she was “Masie,” to which she responded negatively. He initially drove away but quickly turned around, and this time, visibly holding a gun. Carruthers’ immediate instinct was to instruct her daughter and the other children to flee. The children listened to her and ran into a neighbor named Coleman’s house to save themselves.

The individual, later identified as Jason Dalton, began firing at her. Carruthers, demonstrating quick thinking, played dead in an attempt to cease the shooting. Reports indicate that Dalton discharged around 15 rounds at her, but thankfully, none of the children were injured. Carruthers remained motionless until Dalton left the scene, and she was discovered by a neighbor who promptly contacted emergency services, and she was taken to the hospital.

Carruthers sustained four gunshot wounds, necessitating numerous surgeries and extensive therapy during her weeks-long hospitalization for recovery. She credited the image of her daughter’s smile as the source of strength that propelled her forward and helped her concentrate on the path to recovery. Several months later, she was finally discharged from the hospital and permitted to return home, although she acknowledged the ongoing challenge of trying to regain a sense of normalcy in her life.

Where is Tiana Carruthers Today?

Carruthers endured the placement of metal rods along the length of her femur and in her hand to facilitate healing. For an extended period, she could only raise her arms to the height of her shoulders. A bullet remained lodged in her liver, deemed safer to leave in place. Initially reliant on a wheelchair, she later transitioned to using a walking cane. Presently, she can walk without assistance and does not have a noticeable limp. Nevertheless, during her recovery, doctors cautioned her about potential challenges in her later years. In the same year, Tiana experienced the loss of her brother in September.

Despite her daughter, Kaniya, not sustaining physical injuries during the attack, she carried psychological scars. She was worried about reliving the day if she was called to testify against Dalton, but after the latter pleaded guilty, she felt that it was his only way of getting back some control of his life as he had nothing else left for him. Carruthers and her family soon bounced back and initiated a program named Shero with a Message. Through this initiative, she embarked on a journey of sharing her recovery story and inspiring others to overcome adversities.

Transforming into a motivational speaker, Carruthers gained recognition for her efforts, earning a place among the 20 finalists for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Citizen Honors Award in 2020. Her local community acknowledged her bravery and determination. As her daughter celebrated her 15th birthday in November 2023, approaching graduation from high school, Carruthers enjoys a close bond with her, engaging in a joyful life while settling in Michigan.

Read More: Who Were Jason Dalton’s Victims? How Many People Did He Kill?

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