Girl Whose Heart Stopped After Kalamazoo Shooting Takes First Steps

Abigail Kopf is recovering after being critically injured in a shooting.

ByABC News
March 4, 2016, 11:23 AM

— -- A teenager who was critically injured in last month's Kalamazoo shooting spree has been able to take her first steps, her family said today.

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.

Abigail's injuries were so severe that her heart stopped and doctors were concerned she could end up brain dead, according to a statement from officials at Bronson Methodist Hospital. The hospital confirmed on Tuesday that Abigail was doing better and had been upgraded to fair condition.

The teen continues to show remarkable signs of recovery, according to her family. On an online fundraising site, the family wrote today that Abigail was able to take her first steps after the shooting.

"There's no keeping this girl down!!" the family wrote. "Abbie continues to make unbelievable improvement. She is able to walk with some assistance now and at one point even stroked a nurse's ponytail."

The teenager was even joking with staff despite her injuries, according to her parents.

"She smiled and stuck her tongue out at the doctor today," her father said in a statement. "She still has a sense of humor and playfulness."

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 the doctor.

Abigail's mother, Vicki Kopf, said 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. Her grandmother was killed in the shooting, authorities said. 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."

"Abigail, her parents and our team continue to fight hard for her life," Dr. Aaron Lane-Davies, medical director at Bronson Children’s Hospital, said in the statement last month, before the teen's condition was upgraded. "In spite of the seriousness of her injuries, we are encouraged by the relative stability over the last few days and her responsiveness to her parents and our team."

ABC News' Emily Shapiro contributed to this report.