Michigan group works on memorial for shooting victims
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — The victims of what police say was a shooting rampage by an Uber driver two years ago in Kalamazoo County are being honored as part of a multi-tiered memorial project, with fundraising efforts underway.
The ForeverStrong Memorial Foundation plans to create a memorial to honor those killed in the shooting. The memorial will also honor five bicyclists who were killed and four injured by a pickup truck in June 2016.
Laurie Smith, the mother of Tyler Smith and the wife of Rich Smith, two victims of the shooting, founded the organization.
Uber driver Jason Dalton, 47, is accused of shooting multiple people at three locations in Kalamazoo County in February 2016. Six people died and two were critically injured.
The memorial will consist of two separate projects, a $2 million to $3 million walkway and pavilion known as the Memorial Axis and a $7 million Memorial Soccer Center. Those estimates don’t include the cost of the land. The organization is still considering locations for the memorials, which may be featured on the same grounds or separated onto separate areas.
The foundation is working to raise donations for the project and is also seeking individual and corporate investors. The foundation is also launching a store on its website that will sell items such as sweatshirts, t-shirts and bracelets. All proceeds will benefit the foundation.
Dalton faces 16 criminal counts in the shooting. He’s pleading insanity. He told investigators that a devil manifested in his Uber app, controlled his body and told him who to kill, according to police reports. The case is on hold pending an appeal to the state Supreme Court.