Michigan shootings: Gunman 'took Uber passengers' between six 'random murders' in Kalamazoo

Police described the shootings as 'our worst case scenario'

Samuel Osborne
,Jeff Karoub
Sunday 21 February 2016 09:11 GMT
USA: suspect in custody after Kalamazoo, MI, USA shooting

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At least six people have been killed in a series of "random" shootings at a Cracker Barrel restaurant and a Kia car dealership in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Jason Dalton, 45, was reported by a local TV station to be an Uber driver who carried passengers between the shootings in Kalamazoo over a seven-hour period on Saturday night.

Wood TV said police were investigating reports that Dalton dropped off Uber passengers at a hotel, then went to a nearby Cracker Barrel restaurant and killed four women and seriously wounded a 14-year-old girl. It said a Facebook post by the fiancee of an Uber passenger claimed Dalton had sideswiped a car, run a red light and was driving erratically just before the shootings.

Jason Brian Dalton allegedly used a semi-automatic handgun to shoot eight people
Jason Brian Dalton allegedly used a semi-automatic handgun to shoot eight people (Kalamazoo County sheriff's office)

It was initially reported that the 14-year-old had died, but police later revised the deathcount from seven to six, as the teenager is still alive, though gravely injured.

Police were first called to an apartment complex where a woman was shot multiple times. She was taken to hospital in a serious condition.

Dalton was arrested without a struggle and is now being questioned by police.

Michigan state prosecutor Jeff Getting said Dalton had been arrested and would face multiple murder and attempted murder counts. “This is every community’s nightmare – when you have someone going around just randomly killing people, no rhyme, no reason,” he said.

Police described a terrifying series of attacks that began about 6pm outside an apartment complex, where a woman was shot multiple times. She was expected to survive.

A little more than four hours later and 15 miles away, a father and his 18-year-old son were killed while looking at cars at a car dealership. Fifteen minutes after that came the restaurant shootings.

Dalton was arrested without incident after an officer spotted his vehicle driving through Kalamazoo after he left a bar. Police declined to say what was found in the vehicle except for a semi-automatic handgun.

An Uber representative confirmed that Dalton was a driver for the car-hailing service and said he had passed background checks. The company’s chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, said Uber was contacting police to help with the investigation.

Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Paul Matyas said: “In this particular case, we’re just thankful it ended the way it did – before he could really kill anybody else.”

Authorities said Dalton had been in contact with more than one person during the rampage but would not elaborate. Prosecutors said they did not expect to charge anyone else.

“There’s no common denominator with any of these,” Mr Matyas said. “This person was just waiting in the parking lot of the apartment complex. The one at … the dealership, they were looking at cars. The ones at Cracker Barrel, they were just sitting in their cars. There is absolutely no common denominator … through race, age, anything.”

With a population of about 75,000, Kalamazoo is about 160 miles west of Detroit. It is home to Western Michigan University and the headquarters of the popular craft beer maker Bell’s Brewery.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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