Michigan shootings: Uber driver who went on random killing spree 'was regular' at local gun shops

Store owner says Jason Dalton bought a jacket with an inside pocket designed for a handgun hours before he went on his murderous rampage

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The Independent US

An Uber taxi driver who went on a killing spree that left six people dead and a 14-year-old girl critically injured in Kalamazoo, Michigan was a regular at gun shops in the area.

Jonathan Southwick said that Jason Dalton was often at his store and that he bought a jacket with an inside pocket designed for a handgun hours before he went on his murderous rampage.

“I asked how he was doing because I hadn’t seen him for a while,” he told US broadcaster WWMT. “He said he was doing good and enjoying the weather.”

Mr Dalton was captured on surveillance video on Saturday "laughing and joking" and giving the manager a "one-armed hug" before buying his jacket.

Authorities believe that the 45-year-old used a 9mm semi-automatic handgun to carry out the killings, and although authorities have not revealed where he acquired the weapon, Southwick insisted it was not from his shop.  

Jeff Cramer, who owns the On Target gun shop, told The Associated Press that Mr Dalton had purchased long guns from the store, but he does not know if he ever sold him a handgun.

He added that he would feel "uncomfortable" if the gun Mr Dalton allegedly used in the killings had come from his shop.

On Monday Mr Dalton sat emotionless throughout a brief video arraignment held at the courthouse next door to the church, as a district court judge rattled off the list of charges filed against him: sixteen felony charges, including six counts of murder and two for assault with intent to commit murder.

He also declined to address the court when prompted by the judge, but his family, in a statement issued Monday evening, said “this type of violence has no place in our society.” 

Prosecutors said that Mr Dalton, 45, admitted to the killings by saying “he took people’s lives”.

Mr Dalton was denied bail and faces six counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder, which carry a mandatory life sentence.

Federal agents seized several firearms from his home. A spokesman from the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said there is no indication that Mr Dalton was prohibited from possessing the weapons.

Uber confirmed that Mr Dalton passed their background check to become a driver, and admitted it received several complaints about the killer, one specifically citing “erratic” driving.