A Michigan man has been charged with shooting several individuals in three different regions of Kalamazoo County on Feb. 21. According to police, the suspect had been picking up passengers for Uber in-between the several shootings.
In total the rampage lasted over 7seven hours with eight individuals being shot, six of which died following the shooting according to local Michigan authorities.
The incident started at 5:42 p.m. when suspect Jason Brian Dalton (45), shot a woman in front of her children at an apartment complex parking lot. According to prosecutor Jeffrey Getting, the woman was shot several times but is currently expected to survive.
Four hours after that, the gunman killed a father and son at a car dealership moments after driving to a Cracker Barrel restaurant and opening fire, killing four women and wounding a 14-year-old girl.
“These were very deliberate killings,” stated Getting. “This wasn’t hurried in any way, shape or form.”
“There isn’t a connection that we’ve been able to establish between any of the three victim groups with each other, any of the three victim groups with the defendant,” Getting stated in an interview with CNN’s “New Day” on Feb.22 “It just is, well, it was random, unprovoked violence.”
According to Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matyas, the incident was “your worst nightmare”, as stated in an interview with WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids.
The seemingly random selection of victims makes the rampage even more difficult to cope with.
“There is this sense of loss, anger and fear,” stated Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley.
“On top of that, how do you tell the families of these victims that they were not targeted for any other reason than they were a target?”
Two hours following the final shooting, police found and arrested suspect Jason Brian Dalton. Dalton was arrested without incident in downtown Kalamazoo and upon arrest police seized an undisclosed weapon from his car used in the shootings.
Throughout the night, Dalton had been picking up and dropping off passengers for Uber according to an undisclosed source.
In fact, Matt Mellen in an interview with CNN, discussed getting picked up by Dalton during the shootings.
“We got about a mile from my house, and he got a telephone call. After that call, he started driving erratically, running stop signs,” Mellen told the Michigan police station.
In a press release, Uber’s Chief Security Officer stated that Dalton had passed a background check; even further that Dalton had no criminal record prior to the incident.
“For all intents and purposes, he was your average Joe,” the Public Safety Chief said. “This was random.”
Police have not yet released the name of the woman wounded in front of her children at the apartment complex. However, the police have released the identity of some of the victims including Richard Smith, (53), and his son Tyler, (17), who was the father and son at the car dealership. Both did not survive.
In addition, the four women at the Cracker Barrel parking lot have been identified as Dorothy Brown, (74)Barbara Hawthorne, (68) Mary Lou Nye, (62) and Mary Jo Nye, (60).
Dalton is expected to be brought before a court on Feb.22 and is expected to be charged with six accounts of first degree murder as well as potential charges of domestic terrorism.