Dadeville shooting victim Cara Johns recovering after being shot three times

Published: May. 2, 2023 at 4:16 PM EDT
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DADEVILLE, Ala. (WTVM) - A remarkable update on a young teen who was hospitalized after being shot three times during the deadly mass shooting in Dadeville that left four dead and 32 people injured during a sweet 16 birthday party.

Six people have been arrested and charged in connection with the shooting.

“When you have little hope and then you have everything go right it’s a ten so… it’s a good feeling,” said father of Cara Johns, Justin Johns.

Cara Johns has been fighting for her life. Her father, Justin Johns, tells News Leader 9 that nurses did not think she would make it after being shot three times - once in the head, chest and stomach.

“I don’t know why this really happened…other than it’s just a senseless act,” Johns said.

Cara was one of about 60 people who attended Alexis Dowdell’s sweet 16 birthday party at a local dance studio just over 2 weeks ago - when gunfire erupted taking four lives and injuring 32 people.

“Two days ago, she was able to squeeze her left hand.”

During this interview, Johns was heading to Piedmont Columbus Regional Midtown - where since the incident Cara has been in a medically induced coma. Johns has since updated me and says Cara was taken off the ventilator Tuesday morning where her first reaction was loud cries and confusion.

“She is also able to respond if you ask her a question, she can nod her head yes,” said Johns.

Johns said Cara is now ready for the next steps to her recovery. First starting out by trying to say her name. He said the bleeding in her stomach is now under control and her blood pressure is at a good rate.

“That was a traumatic experience she went through; you worry about you know the things and activities she was involved in and things she might not be able to do this year…it makes you feel a little torn up inside.”

Prayers and uplifting messages are small gestures of what John’s believes has gotten Cara this far in her recovery.

“I’ve gotten so many texts and so many Facebook messages about the concern about Cara and it does mean a lot. I do believe prayers are the reason she is still here. I do want to thank y’all for what y’all have been doing,” said Johns.

We will continue to keep you updated on Cara’s full recovery.