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Firefighter shot at St. Louis County Applebee’s off ventilator and speaking

The Kinloch Fire Protection District announced it is starting a ‘Cards for Arlydia’ program and asking people to send cards, notes and pictures for Bufford

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The community continues to show support for a Kinloch firefighter who was injured during a shooting at a St. Louis County Applebee’s.

Arlydia Bufford was among three women who were shot inside the Applebee’s on St. Charles Rock Road in St. John on June 23. One of the women in the shooting was pronounced dead at the scene. The other is expected to survive. 

Bufford is 20 years old and has been with Kinloch Fire Protection District since late 2019.

The Kinloch Fire Protection District announced it is starting a ‘Cards for Arlydia’ program and asking people to send cards, notes and pictures for Bufford to read and look at during her recovery.

Cards can be sent to:

Cards for Arlydia

C/O Kinloch Fire Protection District

5684 Martin Luther King Blvd

Kinloch, MO 63140

A GoFundMe has also been set up for Bufford. As of June 29, more than $25,000 of the $100,000 goal has been raised.

On Sunday, Bufford’s family held a fundraiser to help with her medical bills.

READ MORE: Mother of firefighter shot at Applebee's: 'She would give anyone the shirt off her back'

"I mean she would give you the shirt off her back, she grew up wanting to be a firefighter and actually had almost a full ride to Lamar Owens College for softball and she chose firefighting over that," Arlydia’s mom Rebecca said.

Lt. Mark Fantroy with the Kinloch Fire Protection District said Tuesday morning that Bufford was off the ventilator and breathing on her own.

"She is able to speak and is aware of what happened and where she is. She even asked her mom to bring her some black socks," Fantroy said.

He said that though she is still in critical condition, her improvements are "a huge step in the right direction."

Applebee’s shooting

Bufford was having dinner with her co-worker, a fire captain, after finishing up some training when the shooting occurred.

Police said they have not been able to find a connection between the suspect, 28-year-old Courtney Washington, and victims and they still do not know why he shot the women. Washington of St. Ann has been charged with first-degree murder and two other crimes. He’s being held on a $1 million, cash-only bond.

READ MORE: St. Louis County Applebee's shooting suspect charged with murder