Memorial Still Planned to 2016 Kalamazoo Shooting, Donations Sought

Feb 20, 2018

Nate Hawthorne (left) and Laurie Smith discuss fundraising efforts for a memorial to the victims killed in the 2016 Kalamazoo shooting spree
Credit WMUK

Organizers of a planned memorial to the victims of the 2016 mass shooting in Kalamazoo are ramping up their fundraising efforts.

The ForeverStrong Memorial Foundation hopes to construct a garden with a walking path, and displays for each of the six people killed and two others seriously injured that night. They also want to build a memorial soccer complex.

There was an update on the project, Tuesday, the second anniversary of the shooting spree. Laurie Smith, whose husband Richard and son Tyler, were among those killed two years ago, says finding land for the project has been difficult. But Smith says the foundation wants to move ahead.

“Regardless of whether we have land or not, we’ll get there. Regardless of whether we have land or not, we want to get out there in the community and start making a difference, with or without a site. And then the site will come, and that will just be an additional perk.”

The axis would include building available for events, such as weddings. Nate Hawthorne, whose aunt Barbara was among those killed during the 2016 shooting spree, says the idea is to provide a place for families to gather:

“That really kind of brings family, I mean there’s a playground on there. So it’s a place for families to go, and you can sit and walk and remember or you can go and play, or you can go and celebrate."

The foundation says it’s seeking $2.3-million for the axis and crystalline building and another $7-million for the soccer complex. That doesn’t include the cost of purchasing land.