Who Is Abigail Kopf? The Kalamazoo Shooting Victim's Father Asked An Important Question During The Debate

During Sunday night's Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan, the two candidates started off (expectedly and understandably) with a deep-dig into the Flint water crisis, but that wasn't the only topic they touched on — they were also asked about gun control, by the father of a young girl who was recently the victim of a grisly mass shooting. It's possible you've heard her name before, but if not, you may want to know: who is Kalamazoo shooting victim Abigail Kopf?

The incident took place on Feb. 20, and it generated a lot of national attention. A gunman (allegedly an Uber driver named Jason Brian Dalton) opened fire at a number of locations, including the outside of a Cracker Barrel restaurant where Abigail was. Four of her family's friends were slain in the attack, and she — just 14 years old — suffered a gunshot wound to the head.

She was expected to die, as her mother Vicki detailed to Jennifer Bowman for the Battle-Creek Enquirer, as doctors had already declared her time of death, and the painful conversation about whether to donate her organs had already begun. But her halted heart eventually fluttered back to life, and against all odds, she survived.

Abigail's name came up in the debate thanks to her father Gene, who questioned Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders about what they'd do to curb gun violence. And he was unapologetic in insisting on a specific answer — not anything about tougher mental health laws, he said, "because that doesn’t work."

He also divulged some news about Abigail, however, that was a tiny ray of light amid the deeply depressing conversation: she's apparently laughing and giggling again, although he did state that she still has a "long road to recovery." This follows up on some good news from earlier this week, when Abigail was first able to walk again, albeit with assistance. She's reportedly still got a brain surgery ahead of her, following up on the one she underwent in the aftermath of the attack, but to this point, It's nothing short of a fantastic and heartening recovery.

Here's how Vicki Kopf described her daughter's will to survive to Bowman on Wednesday.

I think Abigail has a lot of spitfire in her, and I think she just willed herself back. 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.