Friends in Brown County are mourning Dorothy “Judy” Brown, one of the six people killed in random shootings in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on Saturday.
Brown moved from Nashville back to Battle Creek, Michigan, about 15 years ago to be nearer her brother, Steve Gore remembered.
Brown led the Brown County Chamber of Commerce in the ’90s when it was where the Artist Colony Inn is now, Gore said.
“She was a real, real nice lady — the kind of person you’d find working in a visitor center or chamber — very outgoing, nice and sweet,” Gore said.
When she was shot, Brown, 74, was with two friends, 60-year-old Mary Jo Nye and 68-year-old Barbara Hawthorne, and a 14-year-old girl in a Chevrolet Cruze in the parking lot of the Cracker Barrel restaurant Saturday night, according to the MLive Kalamazoo Gazette.
Nye, Brown and Hawthorne were all killed; the girl is clinging to life at a hospital.
Gore said he and his wife heard about Brown’s death this morning from a mutual friend. He said he had last heard from her about 10 years ago; they had stayed in touch, emailing every so often.
They were surprised and saddened to hear the news. It didn’t make any sense. “It’s just the world we live in,” Gore said.
HobNob Corner restaurant owner Warren Cole didn’t have many dealings with Brown through the Chamber of Commerce, but he did as a customer: “She was a very sweet, kind woman. It was like I knew her. ‘Loved to talk with her, greet her,” Cole said.
Her death was “shocking,” Cole said.
The accused shooter, Jason B. Dalton, was arraigned today on six counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder. Fifteen minutes before he shot Brown and the others, police say he killed a father and son at a car dealership, and earlier, shot a woman at an apartment complex.
Dalton also has ties to Indiana; he was formerly a student at Eastern Hancock High School in Hancock County.
Friends in Michigan remembered Brown’s love for others.
Marilynn Miles told the Battle Creek Enquirer that Brown had just retired last spring from Guardian Finance and Advocacy Services, helping seniors manage their money and often making home visits.
Her former boss told the newspaper that he had just spoken to Brown last week and she said she was “having a ball” during her retirement.
Read more about Brown’s life in Michigan here: http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2016/02/kalamazoo_mass_shooting_victim.html