Dadeville mass shooting victim Cara Johns continues in recovery

Published: May. 17, 2023 at 10:15 PM EDT
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DADEVILLE, Ala. (WTVM) - The recovery process continues for a young teen who was hospitalized after being shot three times during a deadly mass shooting in Dadeville that left four dead and over 30 injured during a sweet 16 birthday party.

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

Cara Johns was recently moved from a hospital in Columbus to Birmingham to undergo another surgery. Johns was experiencing leakage in her brain, and her father says the rare operation seems to have gone well… but a doctor said it could be six months or even two to three years before Cara fully recovers.

“She yells out this isn’t fair, and things like this… Dad, this isn’t fair, and I mean, there is nothing I could do. I can’t take her place. I would if I could in a heartbeat,” said Father Justin Johns.

Cara Johns is one of 32 people injured during a deadly mass shooting at a sweet 16 birthday party just over a month ago.

“I didn’t really ask about the incident; I asked her if she remembers going to a birthday party, and she said yes,” said Justin Johns.

Cara was shot three times, leaving her in a medically induced coma where two weeks ago, she woke up and was taken off the ventilator. Her father, Justin Johns, said on Monday more surgery took place due to a leakage in her brain.

“They went up through her sinus cavity on the right side, and they stopped the hole where the fluid was leaking from the brain with tissue, they used tissue from the nose,” he said.

Johns says Cara was recently fed soft foods for the first time in a month. Along with being able to sit up, he says she will start therapy soon to relearn how to walk, talk and write. Johns said the most challenging part is some days his daughter will forget who he is.

“One day, her sister came, and she didn’t even recognize her. Then another time, and then there has been a time she didn’t recognize me. Most of the time, she does know who we are. Im sure that’s part of the damage she suffered,” said Justin Johns.

Johns said Cara will joke around about leaving and will try to get up. He says the process has felt like a marathon and he hopes she will be able to come home soon.

“I am thankful to where she is at because it wasn’t promising that she was going to be here so it’s definitely a big deal.”

Johns said her hospital room is filled with cards, stuffed animals, posters and balloons from friends, family and community members and he said Cara knows she is loved and will continue to keep fighting.

Her father said it was Cara’s sister’s birthday and all she wanted was to see her sister... We will continue to keep you updated on Cara’s recovery process.

To help donate for medical expenses for Cara Johns, click here.