(KALAMAZOO, Mich.) — A teenager who was critically injured in last month’s shooting spree in Kalamazoo, Michigan, was released from the Bronson Methodist Hospital Tuesday to enter a rehab facility, according to hospital officials.
Abigail Kopf, 14, was one of eight victims in a series of shootings in Kalamazoo that left six dead, including her grandmother. Suspected shooter Jason Dalton, an Uber driver, has been arrested and charged with the murders.
The teen was shot in the head and her injuries were so severe that her heart stopped. Her doctors were concerned she might become brain dead, according to hospital officials.
“The pace of her progress is exceptional,” Dr. Aaron Lane-Davies, medical director of Bronson Children’s Hospital, said in a statement Tuesday. He explained that her signs of improvement are very encouraging, but her injuries are still very severe.
“It will be a long journey ahead,” Lane-Davies said. “But she is regaining her functions more quickly than expected for someone with an extensive brain injury.”
Despite her injuries, her family said she has still been able to show her sense of humor during her 17 days at the hospital.
“She is laughing and joking,” the family said online. “She laughed at bits of Harry Potter and even made political jokes with us.”
The girl’s injuries were so severe that Gift of Life, an organ and tissue donor organization, was contacted with the permission of Abigail’s parents, but Abigail was never declared medically brain dead, according to hospital officials.
Abigail’s mother, Vicki Kopf, told the local newspaper that the teen had been shot in the head and that the doctors had called a time of death for the teen before she started breathing again on her own.
“I think Abigail has a lot of spitfire in her, and I think she just willed herself back,” Vicki Kopf told the Battle Creek Enquirer. “Because she was not ready to go yet, and she’s got many more things that she wants to do. I don’t know if I can say it’s a miracle. I think she’s just one strong-willed child, that ‘I’m not finished yet.’ And she’s gonna finish what she started.”
The Kopf family could not be reached by ABC News for additional comment.
The teen had been at a concert with her family when she was injured and her grandmother was killed. A judge has denied bail for Dalton, 45. Kalamazoo police Det. Cory Ghiringhelli told the court that Dalton admitted to investigators “that he took people’s lives.”
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