KALAMAZOO, MI (WOOD) — The baseball teams in two cities touched by deadly gun violence are having special nights for fans. But the approaches could not be more different as one pays tribute to the victims and the other celebrates guns.
(Article by Wood TV Staff)
Both drew sell-out crowds, according to the teams’ officials.
Barabara Cahill, head of the Kalamazoo Strong Organization said the event was a testament to the strength of the community.
Four of the six people killed in the Kalamazoo shooting massacre in February were from the Battle Creek area as well as 14-year-old Abigail Kopf who continues to recover from being shot in the head.
Friday night, the Kalamazoo Growlers stadium was the site of a Kalamazoo Strong ceremony that remembered the victims of the shooting and the five who died earlier this month when a truck crashed into a group of bicyclists north of Kalamazoo.
Suspects in both incidents face multiple murder charges.
In Kalamazoo, survivors, their families and members of the bike group attended the game against the Green Bay Bullfrogs which was preceded by a presentation of donations to Laurie Smith, the mother of shooting victim Tyler Smith, and Tiana Carruthers, a survivor of the Kalamazoo shooting.
Carruthers did not speak but Barabara Cahill said her friend was overwhelmed with the support.
Meanwhile, attendees at Battle Creek’s S.O. Brown Stadium were encouraged to bring firearms to the game as part of what the baseball organization is calling a “2nd Amendment Education Night” while the gun dealership that is sponsoring it is calling it “2nd Amendment Appreciation Night.”
Guns holstered on hips were plentiful as hot dogs, pretzels and beer – although anyone open carrying was not allowed to buy beer, according to stadium officials.
There were no reported security problems.
Bombers General Manager Tony Iovieno said ticket exchanges were be available for people who did not wish to attend gun night and additional Battle Creek police and private security was allegedly in place.
He said he never felt safer, but said he is not sure he will do it again next year.
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